The iPhone is beginning to get a nice collection of racing titles. From Mario Kart style racers like ‘Cro-mag rally’ and ‘Crash Bandicoot Racing’, to realistic Grand Turismo style racers such as ‘GTS World Racing’ and the upcoming ‘Real Racing’.
To add to this list is Moto Chaser (Formerly Moto Racer) by Freeverse, which is more in line with the arcade classic Outrun. Where the goal is to get to the checkpoints before the time runs out…. except this game doesn’t swallow coin after coin as you try and get that little bit further!
When you boot up the game you are presented with an animated title sequence which offers you the option to Race (or chase) and the Options menu where you can change the sound settings and more importantly the difficulty setting. I recommend having this quite high if you want any challenge, otherwise the tracks are too easy. Too high though, and the controls are too loose and you’ll struggle to get through the checkpoints in time.
Hit race and you are presented with three varied Riders, a woman in classic style biker gear, a man in modern gear, and finally a strange mix between the too, with a Clark Gable inspired moustache but with a green spikey/mohican adorning his head! To select one, spin them around using your finger and then hit select. You are then presented with the track selection screen. From the beginning only Desperado Gulch is unlocked, but more are unlocked with each win. Winning is when you reach the finish line, that’s if you make it through all the checkpoints before the time runs out. Once you pass the finish line you get to move on to the next track. Between each track though, you are presented with a strange comic book image depicting an unravelling story line featuring some evil bikers and what looks like your kidnapped cat. Personally I think Freeverse could have left this bit out, as it really doesn’t add anything to the gameplay. I don’t need a cat to get me to the end, the thought of unlocking more tracks does that for me so a story line really isn’t needed.
The tracks are varied and themed on various parts of the world, my favourites are ‘Going Coastal’ and ‘Rumbles in the jungle’. These feature cliff edges which add to the tension and are the most challenging, they’re also two of the better looking tracks.
This brings me onto the visuals. Moto chaser is one of the better looking racers out there right now. Featuring colourful, almost SEGA like environments, and some nice character and bike models. However, the models do appear very low poly close up, and some of the environment textures are a little rough round the edges. Particularly the trees, roads and grass textures in the ‘Old growth new danger’ track. The frame rate can also take a bit of a dip at times, specifically when there are other riders or vehicles on the road. Overall, the graphics are solid and offer a greater variation for the eyes over the current racing game competition.
Sound is also nicely done, with some varied rock/pop music tracks in the title and during races. There is some voice over and the bike sounds feature realistic samples.
Finally it comes down to controls, which is the home straight for any racer on the iPhone. Like the competition, Moto Chaser features tilt controls for steering, but unlike GTS’s tilt acceleration, you must touch a gas icon on the bottom left of the screen for speed. This doesn’t work well for me, and to be honest I’d prefer a system along the lines of Crash Bandicoot, where speed is full throttle automatically… you don’t really need to slow down in this game!
To change things up a bit during a race, some of the evil bikers pull up along side you, and in a Road Rash inspired style you must hit the punch icon to knock them over. For some reason this didn’t really work for me either, and just broke the flow of the race. The punch button doesn’t feel very responsive, with some punches going unnoticed… and more often than not this resulted in lost time and failure to reach the next checkpoint. Overall, the controls are pretty good, but not the best. That crown goes to GTS…. for now.
Presentation & Graphics: 6
Titles and menus are top notch. Tracks have good graphical variation, but with a bit more polish in the textures and frame rate areas this game could look great.
Music’s good, but completely based on individual taste. The sound effects are good quality, and there is even some voice work in there which is a nice touch.
Based on the Outrun style of play, the game has a great sense of speed, especially around the later tracks. Controls are on Par with the majority of the competition if a little loose. The Gas and punch buttons feel unresponsive and don’t really add tot eh experience.
Game life: 6
On easy settings, you can probably speed through all the tracks in an hour or so. Whack it up a peg or two and there is more challenge and so the game will last a while longer, however apart from a high score table, there isn’t much to come back to.
Game rating: 6
Another solid effort in the racing genre, but we’re still waiting for one that ticks all the boxes. Here’s hoping it’s just over the horizon… maybe it could be a Moto Chaser sequel?