Red Bull Moto Cross
| Red Bull Moto Cross

Unless you're some kind of physics expert – and, given that I'm writing this review and not saving the world with my scientific knowledge, you can probably fathom that I'm not – describing just how you ride a bike to someone who can't is a tricky business.

I'm not talking about pedalling, of course, but rather the art of staying upright. Holding the balance required is something you only learn from doing – or, in other words, learn from the painful experience of repeatedly crashing into the neighbour's garden fence.

Red Bull Moto Cross isn't the first biking title to try and apply this same sense of balance to gameplay - most motocross games have a stab, given that merely staying on board is a pretty essential part of flying over the lumps and bumps cross country.

Sadly, Xendex's crack isn't one others are likely to follow.

Tricks, but no treat

You can't fault Red Bull Moto Cross when it comes to sheer variety, however – dedicated rounds for mastering mid-air tricks, riding round at pace, or even pulling off a set number of wheelies. Instead, it's some rather odd design decisions that hold play back.

With the game's view taking a side on approach, controlling the D-pad and the '5' key is your only input.

Red Bull Moto Cross accelerates for you, so essentially success comes from learning to temper that speed (hitting 'down' to break if so required) and keep it in check, by tipping the bike backwards and forwards once in the air.

Holding down '5' pauses play and opens up a mini menu, where any unlocked tricks can be picked and pulled off at will, provided you have enough air time. It's mastering these that is the key to amassing points and unlocking further stages.

Cross controls

It's a simple enough setup and, as you might expect, the tournaments that open around the globe get progressively trickier as the game begins to stretch its legs.

But Red Bull Moto Cross never feels natural.

Most such titles rely on players gelling with their controls from the off, making the challenge one of judgement, rather than coping with a difficult setup.

As such, it's disappointing that the game never seems to find the right balance – the sweet spot between staying airborne and tipping over is far too finite, far too fiddly.

Likewise, the developer's decision to display the game in landscape mode – meaning you have to turn the phone around accordingly and use your right thumb for each and every action – is just plain annoying.

Much like one of its mid-air tricks that just doesn't come off, Red Bull Moto Cross has the promise and the big billing, but loses its balance a touch along the way.

Red Bull Moto Cross

A question of balance throughout, Red Bull Moto Cross is packed with variety but undermines itself with some dodgy design decisions
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.