Ghost Rider
| Ghost Rider

The problem with serious motorcycling sims like the MotoGP series, if you ask us, is that you can't shoot fireballs at any rival foolish enough to overtake you. Oh, and there aren't enough demons either. Where's the fun in that?

Ghost Rider is the answer to your prayers if you're looking for a more... spectral take on two-wheeled racing. It's based on a Marvel Comics character, which has just been turned into a film starring Nicolas Cage, and also a tie-in PSP game, before coming to mobile. That's what they call cross-platform synergy, we guess.

You play Johnny Blaze, a motorcycle stunt-rider who, due to an ill-advised spot of soul bargaining with an arch-demon, spends his evenings cruising the highways fighting evil with all manner of flaming fury. Yes, that's where the fireballs come in.

On mobile, this makes for a neat racing game where each level has you seeing off gang members before taking on a boss to progress to the next level. You're not restricted to fireballs though – other weapons include a more powerful Hell Fire Shotgun, and a Hell Chain that lets you take out rivals when running alongside them.

A key part of the game is also building up your Flame Bar, which sits at the top of the screen. You fill it by killing enemies, and also by pulling stunts such as power slides and wheelies. Once full, you get a set amount of time to 'Burn Up The Road', which gives invulnerability, replenishes your health bar, and lets you damage opponents more by ramming them, while chucking out unlimited fireballs.

Meanwhile, if you do well enough, bonus levels let you rack up the points with more stunt-based action, like jumping through flaming hoops.

Ghost Rider is dark and doomy. As in lighting, we mean. The game has a gloomy style that while perfectly apt for the character, doesn't always make it easy to see what you're doing. Thankfully, the game is weighted much more towards combat than racing, so you won't find yourself streaking off-road as a result very often.

There are some nice set-piece moments, too, right from the start of the game. The boss battle on the first level, for example, sees you racing towards a tower block, before zooming up the side of it and duking it out at 90 degrees before racing across the top. It's great.

This is an occasionally frustrating game, mind, and there is a formula that needs to be followed of ensuring your flame bar is full for the boss battle, which will then be finished speedily. While the levels do change, the core gameplay itself doesn't alter that much, which makes it a trifle repetitive.

Nevertheless, considering the many rubbish movie games that have gone before it, Ghost Rider is a fun tie-in with a bunch of neat features. And if it is slightly repetitive, it makes up for that with its addictiveness – we found ourselves gripped.

Whether you're a hardcore Marvel geek or simply fancy a more shooty form of motorbiking mobile game, Ghost Rider will keep you satisfied for as long as it lasts.

Ghost Rider

A neat movie tie-in with some innovative touches
Stuart Dredge
Stuart Dredge
Stuart is a freelance journalist and blogger who's been getting paid to write stuff since 1998. In that time, he's focused on topics ranging from Sega's Dreamcast console to robots. That's what you call versatility. (Or a short attention span.)