Game Reviews

Rock(s) Rider

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| Rock(s) Rider
Rock(s) Rider
| Rock(s) Rider

At what point does imitation stop being the sincerest form of flattery and move into outright outright copying?

It's certainly a question Rock(s) Rider developer Electronic Concept Arts must have asked itself more than once. This game, for all intents and purposes, is Trials HD - RedLynx's physics-based dirt-bike platformer that confounds and excites in equal measure.

The dingy warehouses are here. The neon signs. The rock-hard tracks that'll have you reaching for the 'reset' button over and over again.

Rock(s) Rider only differs from its progenitor in one area, but it's the one area that really matters - quality.

Wheelie tricky

If you've played Trials HD, then you know what you're doing straight away. One corner of the screen lets you control the bike's acceleration, while the other lets you adjust which way your rider leans.

Unfortunately, without analogue inputs this makes the already-difficult act of balancing your rider far harder than is enjoyable, so Rock(s) Rider maintains none of the subtlety or satisfying nuance of Trials.

Also, while it may look the part, the physics underpinning the experience are ropey at best. In the air, the bike flips at ludicrous speeds with only the slightest weight adjustment, but on the ground pulling a basic wheelie is almost impossible.

Certainly, hurtling down ramps and over jumps is still as satisfying as it is in Trials, but the close-up camera angle makes it almost impossible to plan your routes, so you're left at the mercy of the checkpoint system.

Even in the early levels, you can expect to restart over and over again just to get to the end of a course.

Three's company

To mix things up, Rock(s) Rider gives you a few odd vehicles to try out.

While you drive down the central lane of each track, there are near and far-side ramps too, and these come into play when you tackle the newer vehicles.

A bike with poles sticking out of the rear wheel makes you tackle every track in a completely different way, as the poles grind against the near and far side ramps, taking you on different routes and testing your dexterity. Then there's a trike, which basically does the same thing but with the front wheels instead of the rear.

They're nice ideas, but when you crash for the thousandth time after hitting your head on some unseen beam it's hard to feel too impressed.

Rock(s) Rider is a very pretty and ambitious effort that desperately wants to replicate Trials HD's home console success on the iPhone, but it just doesn't capture that game's immaculate design and balance. Error, then, rather than trial.

Rock(s) Rider

Ambitious but poorly designed tracks and immense frustration ultimately condemn this Trials-alike