The cult arcade-style motorbike racing game Moto Racer 4 makes its first outing on Xbox One. Developed by Microids and Artefacts Studio under the supervision of the original Moto Racer designer Paul Cuisset, Moto Racer 4 brings speed and aggression together. The idea of an ‘old-school arcade racer’ appeals to us no end, so we were hopeful on so many levels; unfortunately, it failed to impress on any of them.
Although sporting the usual array of options – career, quick play, and both on-line and local multiplayer – each is a disappointment. Career play, for example, is unlock-based with no real story to be found, just a host of seemingly disconnected races to complete. Depending on your finishing position in each race you are awarded stars; these stars are used to unlock the next race. Progression becomes a grind, as you repeat races to eventually earn enough stars to progress. It’s an archaic mechanic that sits uneasily alongside games that make all their content available from the get-go.
The level design is simplistic, but this does allow for a feeling of speed, especially when you’re awarded with an extra boost for performing a wheelie or landing a jump. This speed doesn’t last, though, thanks to the skittish controls. The slightest left or right turn will have you snaking along for a good 10 seconds as you fight for control over the bike, only to regain control just in time for it to begin again after the next bend. The speed, the poor controls, and the oncoming traffic all adds up to a very poor racing experience.
The game’s problems unfortunately aren’t limited to just the poor controls; it’s littered with issues and flaws.
There’s little to suggest that this isn’t a game from the last generation – everything looks fine when it’s whizzing by, but when you slow or stop there’s a noticeable lack of finesse in the visuals, though at least this means it moves at a swift pace and feels like it maintains a steady 60 fps.
When it comes to how the game sounds, the high pitched whine of the bike engine begins to grind on you after a few minutes, and you’re forced to zone it out or switch it off.
Ultimately, the biggest disappointment is that Moto Racer 4 just doesn’t know what kind of game it wants to be. Its broad brush approach encircles racer, stunt game and Road Rash clone, and fails to deliver a convincing experience in any of those areas. There’s fun to be had, but to find it you’ll have to overlook some significant flaws.
Moto Racer 4 is available from the Store, priced £31.99.
A racer that doesn't know what it wants to be, and suffers for it.
Moto Racer 4 promised so much, but delivered so little. With almost all major areas of this game suffering from issues of some description, and the game as a whole feeling unfinished, it’s difficult to find any redeeming features for this arcade bike racer. Possibly with a little more development time this could have been an entertaining title; alass as it is now it falls short of being even an average game.