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Review: Moto X Mayhem

March 21, 2010


I have always been a fan of side-scrolling motorcycle games. They are so simple. All you have is control over acceleration and how the rider leans, yet you can do so much with the limited amount of tools you're given. Being the connoisseur of side-scrolling motorcycle games that I am, I find it very odd that I never realized how perfect a platform the iPhone is for a game like this. It has a touchscreen, lots of screen real estate, and an accelerometer. The more I think about it, the more perfect the iPhone seems for a game just like Moto X Mayhem. It surprises me that there aren't more of them out there. However, there doesn't need to be anymore of them, now. There is no game more perfect than Moto X Mayhem to fill the void in the App Store of side-scrolling motorcycle games.

The Features

The controls are simple: tap the left side of the screen to reverse, the right side to accelerate, and tilt the device to make the rider lean forward or back. Your only task is to get through the level, without crashing, in the shortest amount of time. Moto X Mayhem manages to take such a simple premise and set of controls and turn it into a very fun and worthwhile game. First of all, the artwork and animation is superb. You can tell by the screenshots that the art is very clean and colorful and subtle. The animation of the motorcycle and the landscape is very natural. Another nice aspect of the game is its great physics engine. With a game like this, you have to have absolutely flawless physics applied to everything, and Moto X Mayhem nails it. When you think the guy should bounce after a landing, he does. When you think that gravity will allow for a flip, it almost always does. Even though you are controlling a tiny, 2-dimensional motorcycle, many times it feels as if you are controlling a real thing in the real world. Some other features include some ambient sounds taken from nature, giving the feeling that he is motorcycling in the wilderness, the ability to view the entire map beforehand as a silhouette, and sounds of pain that come from your rider when he finds himself in a, well, less fortunate situation.

The Good

Moto X Mayhem takes one of the most fun types of games and ports it almost flawlessly to the iPhone. Some great aspects of it include its physics engine, animation, soundtrack, and calming simplicity. The menus are easy to navigate, and it has all of the basic options (Sound, Music, Tilt Sensitivity) you'd want. Also, the presence of High Scores, overall and per stage, on the worldwide level adds a whole new level of addictiveness and competition to the game. Another good feature of this game is the rate at which the levels get harder. They are perfectly balanced to remain doable while still be challenging. Everything you'd want out of a side-scrolling motorcycle game on the iPhone, Moto X Mayhem has.

The Bad

However, it does lack in one aspect. While Moto X Mayhem delivers in almost every other aspect, it does not have very many levels. It only offers 3 islands with 7 levels each. This, if you didn't know multiplication, means that Moto X Mayhem only offers 21 levels. While this may seem like a lot, each level takes a maximum of around 20 minutes to complete. Therefore, this game does leave a lot to be desired when it comes to content, and replayability. Although, this is a flaw that can be easily remedied through an update.

The Verdict

Moto X Mayhem is an incredibly simple and addictive side-scrolling motorcycle game with excellent animation, sounds, and controls. If you don't mind replaying levels often, then you won't be disappointed by this almost-perfect iPhone game that fills a long-awaited niche within the App Store.

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