Pro cycling or no cycling?
I’ll admit to not knowing much about pro cycling. It’s certainly not a sport I follow. I don’t know the ins and outs of it, heck, the last time I came anywhere near a bike was a couple of years ago when a rowdy teen with a bum-fluff mustache from the local council block sped round the corner and nearly knocked the fruit-flavoured ice lolly out of my hand. I’m still looking for him.
What I do know is that a game based on the sport should at have more to it than CRC Pro Cycling from ChainReactionCycles.com and Billy Goat entertainment. It’s a cycling game, where you cycle on cycles. If you picked it up every Tuesday, you’d be playing it in cycles. Am I a comedy genius? Let’s not beat around the bush. Yes.
I’ll begin with the good, of which ironically, there is a lot. It’s a lovely looking game from the front end to the gameplay. Main title screens are sleek and resemble a professional sportscast. In-game visuals also impress; your cyclist animates smoothly and backgrounds are nicely detailed with accurate road signs, markings and other small touches lending to a charmingly British feel through the five tracks on offer, which is a slightly disappointing number. The crashing animation is also chucklesome to watch. I know this because I saw rather more of it than I wanted to.
There was more than one time that I rode straight through a hill and into an empty cavern of nothingness only to drop from the sky and back onto the course. At first I thought it was a quirky new addition to the sport that I was unaware of, then because I’m a knowledgeable games reporter, I realised it must be a bug. I’ll be watching the Olympics with interest to see if this happens in real life.
Sound is also a thumbs-up experience. Music is provided by real-life Irish indie bands (as opposed to poltergeist ones) whose tracks cycle through -whey hey! – a’ la an EA Sports game. All the songs and instrumentals are moody and atmospheric and make you want to stare out of a window while contemplating your life.
Once you’ve created and customised a character, on the road bikes handle well. Build up speed by tapping and holding the right side of the screen, with the accelerometer allowing you to turn (there’s an option for a joystick here, but it’s a little tricky to master). You can’t cut corners when turning so the game’s mechanics keep you honest and force you to use skill to negotiate the track without slamming into a wall or, as we discussed earlier, through it. Pedal too long and you’ll have to take a swig from your bottle to top up your stamina at the temporary expense of speed. It’s only a water bottle though, don’t get any ideas.
So it’s all good, yes? Well no my friends, it most certainly is not. The only thing missing from this game is an actual game. Naturally I jest, but with only two play options (aside from Bluetooth multiplayer), this is one bike that doesn’t have many legs. I hope you understand what I mean.
Road Race is a quick go versus the computer, and Time Trial is a race against the clock. There is a Tour Mode coming soon, which I assume is a career mode, but what you have for the time being is a paltry offering which provides no longevity and lets the whole product down. In fact, the way ChainReaction.com’s website info is splashed front and centre across the game screens and app logo, the more cynical among us could surmise the game is just a promotional tool for their business.
The rest of the game is too well presented for me to be that skeptical. With the Tour mode included I’d happily throw it at least another star, but there’s no way a title this thin on content can score higher, and there’s no way on Earth, Mars or Saturn it’s worth the £1.99 they’re currently charging. Maybe I’ll return when an update happens, but until then I’m off to wait at the council block for a certain rowdy teen with a bum fluff mustache. That ice lolly cost me 99p.
Catch up with Kevin on Twitter @dreagleg
CRC Pro Cycling is available now £1.99 for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Get it now from the