Ever since Trials HD popularized the physics-based bike stunt/obstacle course games and brought them out of the realm of online Flash game websites, there have been plenty of clones and emulations. Bike Baron is such a game, but it manages to retain its own identity and give us something fresh, opting for a colorful and humorous take on the genre instead of a totally industrial and extreme one, like Xtreme Wheels.
This collaboration between Mountain Sheep, Qwiboo, and the composer of Trine and Angry Birds is very well done. The Bike Baron is a simple daredevil and all around manly man. He'll take on any challenge, and he's so awesome that he brings his kitty cat with him on stunt runs. That's about as much story as you'll get. The app drops you straight into the game upon start up, showing you the ropes. It's the same simple controls everyone is used to. Left and right tilt buttons, accelerate, and stop/reverse. Each level has three stars to earn for completing various objectives, such as finding every coin, beating the level without crashing, beating it under a certain time, or even doing a specific number of back flips. Levels are unlocked at the cost of one star, so you'll always need at least one to continue. The level difficulties are represented by playing cards, and if you're really a masochist, you can unlock and tackle the Joker level challenges.
The game does have a pretty good level editor, but it totally lacks any community support on the actual phone. If you want to download new levels, you have to go to the game's website and get a code to input into your phone. You have no way of previewing the level, and there is no level rating system, so you're going in blind. It's still fun as always to see what other players come up with though.
The game's graphics and art are crisp and vibrant, and really help this game stand apart from the rest of its genre. Everything from the sound effects, music, and environments give the game a wacky and humorous tone. Is that a sasquatch I saw tending the bar at the main menu? The only real fault with the game is the difficulty, although some people like myself actually see that as a positive. It gets exceedingly difficult, and the physics don't always feel consistent, so several levels seem to be won by pure luck. Regardless of all that, it's a really fun and polished experience. Game Center achievements and leaderboards are supported, and the app is iOS universal. Best of all, the Baron can crash into your iDevice for just one dollar. No kitten included.