iPhone App Video Review: Xtreme Wheels

by Andrew Koziara

Xtreme Wheels is a side scrolling racing/puzzle game brought to us by Bravo Game Studios. The app seems Xtremely inspired by the massively popular Xbox Live Arcade game, Trials HD. There have been a few apps to replicate this gameplay in the past, but none have done quite as Xtremely as Xtreme Wheels.

The game tasks you with completing various obstacle courses as quickly as possible without crashing. Using a tilt-based mechanic, you make your way through various obstacles and over jumps. The tilt controls in this game are set to a slider that you must constantly manipulate. It was an interesting Idea, though I feel two buttons would have served the game better. Of course, you also have a button for acceleration, and a button for braking and reversing. The controls definitely take some getting used to, and the slider doesn't feel natural at first.

You only have to reach the end of a course to progress, but every level is timed, rewarding you with various trophies. If you crash in the game, you restart at one of the dozens of checkpoints littering the course, though your time will take an artificial bump for each fault when you are rated. If you can pull of a Gold time with absolutely no faults, you'll receive a platinum trophy. This is where the real challenge of the game lies.

You'll want to cruise through each course at maximum velocity, but slow and steady truly wins this race. Crashing is pretty fun at first. Everything goes into slow motion and the sound effects are amplified, but you'll quickly start skipping straight to the checkpoint when you crash. Though, your character is extremely weak, and it seems like even the slightest touch to his body will result in a fault. Samuel L. Jackson's character from Unbreakable must be hiding underneath that helmet. It's almost as if they programmed it so that any contact to the rider's body will result in death, no matter how slight. Don't get me wrong though, most of the time it's your fault, and it's quite brutal. Although, I'll never understand how hitting his helmet covered head would result in a tiny explosion of blood. It must be made out of paper.

To make up for the clunky touch screen controls, Bravo Games seems to have compensated by throwing checkpoints everywhere, to the point that it can actually be detrimental to your experience. I guess you'd rather have a game that's too easy than one that's too hard, but sometimes a checkpoint will be badly placed, and you'll have no choice but to restart the course anyway. Another issue I have with the checkpoints is that they make practicing a level very difficult. Sometimes you need to master and understand the flow of a longer section, but if you mess up, you'll be stuck in the middle of it. I would have loved to see the inclusion of a mode without checkpoints. If you've played 'Splosion Man on the Xbox Live Arcade, you'll be familiar with the brutal Hardcore mode, which is the same concept. There are only 20 courses in the game, and due to the short nature, the difficulty definitely spikes around the midpoint. It's almost as if the later levels are built entirely out of exploding barrels. It's kind of obscene.

The quality of the graphics and effects are great, but sometimes the levels can feel extremely cluttered. It can be very hard to differentiate the track from the random junk in the background, which leads to more crashes. Overall, it's a pretty good game. it may be extremely short, but if you decide to go for all the platinum trophies, you'll be playing this game for a rather long time. If you want to play this kind of game on your iPhone, you don't have very many options, and it does a pretty good job of recreating the Trials experience. This is a four dollar, iOS universal app. Check it out, and maybe it can hold you over until Redlynx releases Trials Evolution.

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