Surprisingly enough, not many significant motocross games have made their way into the app store over the past several years. Turborilla attempts to change that by porting their hit side-scrolling computer game, Mad Skills MX, to the iPhone and iPad.
The heart of Mad Skills MX lies in a 52-track career mode that is split into several divisions. During each race, you choose your control preferences and utilize 5 powerups in order to finish before the AI opponent does. A time attack mode saves the top 5 scores and lets you race against ghost profiles. The game is universal and includes Openfeint integration with leaderboards and achievements.
Once you start playing, you'll quickly learn that in order to succeed in Mad Skills, you'll need to have some truly impressive patience and planning. Every race is short and fast-paced, meaning that a 50 meter lead can turn into a 50 meter deficit in a few seconds. The computer player that you race against is extremely good, and it can take 10-15 tries to cross the finish line first in even the starting levels. The high level of difficulty makes the game a lot more fun, and even if you do get stuck, you can skip levels so that it doesn't get too frustrating.
The controls for Mad Skills are easy to learn and work very effectively. 2 circular buttons on the left or right side of the screen are used for accelerating and braking. You then have the option of using tilt or touch controls to lean forwards or backwards. Although your primary objective in a level is to finish first, you can gain stars by performing flips, wheelies, and other tricks. The 5 powerups give you something else to think about, as they play a crucial factor in your success.
Time attack mode greatly boosts the replay value of Mad Skills MX. By default, the top 5 times for each track are saved, and you can go back and try to improve them in ghost races. You can also send challenges via Openfeint to your friends and race against their ghost profiles. The replays for your best races are saved as well and allow you to relive your moments of glory.
Although Mad Skills MX is a lot of fun to play with only 1 player, there's no doubt that it would be an even better online multiplayer experience, which is currently missing. The game also currently lacks Game Center integration for some reason. For some people, career mode might be too challenging due to the insane AI. It would be nice to see several difficulty options and some more features in a future update.
Mad Skills MX is the type of game that's impossible to put down at times, especially when you've lost 10 times and finally get that 1 good game. However, if you're not familiar with 2D racing games, it'll probably feel really tough. For $1.99, Mad Skills MX is a should buy that will have your finger glued to the green gas pedal for hours.