A look back at the 2006 release, Sonic Riders. A very polarizing things, we look at what the game excelled at, while noting how some of the flaws may have led the game to be overlooked.
Hill Climb Racing Review
A rule of thumb I’ve found with a lot of apps recently: if it’s got a lot of downloads and a high score, there’s probably a good reason for that. Don’t judge a book (or app) by its cover. However, that’s speaking from experience. Before trying out this game, I looked at the screenshots and if I thought it looked bad, I would pass on an app (even free ones), despite high ratings. That was until I got bored one day and decided to download the first game on the top free tab on the Google Play market that wasn’t called Angry Birds.
That game, as you probably gleaned from the title, was Hill Climb Racing.
This game at first glance gave the appeal of a time-wasting flash game you’re used to playing on Addicting Games and the like. While they can be entertaining when you’re really bored, taking space on your phone for them seems illogical at first. However, since I was vowing to give it a fair shake on that particular day, I gave it a try.
To begin with, you start out with a jeep. There are four parts you can upgrade as you earn coins (which are earned by performing jumps and flips, collecting coins, and passing checkpoints on the map). Once you earn enough coins, you can then spend these coins on more maps or new vehicles. In the current version, there are seven vehicles including (in increasing base cost): jeep, motocross bike, monster truck, quad bike, race car, rally car, and tank.
There are also eight maps to play on, each with a unique combination of hills, bridges, terrain friction, and gravity. These are Countryside, Desert, Arctic, Highway, Cave, Moon, Mars, and Alien Planet.
Each vehicle also has its unique perks based on downforce, speed, traction, power, control (while performing flips), and suspension. The combination of these perks is determined by the vehicles themselves and their part combinations. The upgrades that can be purchased have several levels that can be bought to drastically improve their abilities.
The gameplay itself is very straightforward. You are given two buttons: a throttle and a brake. These not only control speed, but also the direction you lean in the vehicle, even in the air. The throttle itself will cause the vehicle to flip backwards, while the brake will cause the vehicle to tip forwards. With these abilities, you’re tasked with going as far as you can manage over some of the roughest terrain on (and off) the planet. You will hit barriers that are completely impassible by one vehicle (even with the max upgrades) that are easily passable by another vehicle with mid-level upgrades. The game is easy to learn, and it takes practice to get to the point where you know what each vehicle is capable of and what maps were more or less designed for which vehicle (for instance, the race car is good for Highway, but not Cave).
The graphics, given the gameplay, can easily be looked passed. They aren’t groundbreaking, but for the sake of simplicity, they fit, especially given its price point (the title is free and ad supported, and the ads are unintrusive).
As you unlock new vehicles, you can spend your coins on new upgrades, new maps, and more new vehicles in an amazing cycle of progression. And to make matters even better? They are supporting the title with more vehicles (I downloaded the game months ago and got my dad hooked not long after, and recently he told me about the new vehicles), completely free as a part of normal updates. Whether or not there will be any more new content is of course up to the developer, but the content already included will give you something to do when you’re out and about, or even hanging out on the couch in comfort.
Overall, this game was entirely entertaining for any stretch that I could fit in to play it. I found myself sucked into the progression and felt compelled to improve my vehicles and get further on the maps. The game was incredibly well made and smooth playing.
Since its free, why not give it a try, and let us know how YOU like it in the comments below.
This game was reviewed on a Droid Razr Maxx running Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) after 12+ hours of gameplay.