Motorbike racing games sound like a good idea until you veer off the track, bungle a crucial corner, and wobble into a cartwheeling rodeo clown death crash.
By the time you get back to the track you're so far behind your opponents that you're sure to spend the remaining laps fruitlessly catching up.
It’s a necessary evil, if you want to create a motorbike game with a modicum of authenticity, but it makes a game like Motorbike GP brutally difficult.
Even the game’s very first track, with its wicked hairpin and acute first corner, will have you bailing several times, requiring many repeats until you finally net that trophy.
Climbing the career ladder
But for what purpose? With no career and no system to track your progress, there's little reward for finishing first. Heck, the game doesn’t even mark down your medals or fastest times, eliminating what scant motive might exist for replay.
The only real reason for replaying and getting shinier medals is to earn the credits needed to race all dozen bikes on the game's five tracks. Not that unlocking a new bike is an exciting venture - they're little more than resprayed motors featuring slightly tweaked stats that fail to translate to meaningful differences in handling.
The uniformity continues in the game's sole mode of play: a drab, three-lap race against five opponents. Opponents are so poorly programmed that they crawl along the track at a slothful pace to spread out the competition. Needless to say, it makes for some terribly unexciting racing.
It doesn't help that there aren't any time trials, hot laps, tournaments or challenges, and no way to save, compare, or brag about your best times.
Torque is cheap
A litany of missed opportunities and lazy time-savers add to an already bulging list of crimes and misdemeanors: there’s no way to flip the screen, your current position lags behind your actual place on the track, you can’t listen to your own music, and it's buggy.
All of which is a shame because beneath the brutal difficulty, crappy AI, dreary lack of progression, and absent modes - Motorbike GP hints at something more.
As you slice through turns and glide around corners, perfectly meeting the bends and curves of the tracks, you find believable physics, reliable tilt controls, and even some spiffy (albeit low-resolution) visuals.
Which makes everything else, from the crazy race-destroying bugs to the grating vuvuzela buzz of the bike engines and lack of multiplayer, hurt that much more. There's a competent motorbike racer here, it’s just hidden under a mountain of bugs, mistakes, and sorely missing features.