Can’t Ride This Christmas? Play These Seven Bike Videogames Instead And Get Your Two Wheeled Fix

by
December 25, 2017

There are a lot of reasons we might not be able to ride over Christmas: travelling, hosting relatives, family time, kids to look after, strict eating schedules, too much food and too little time, all the Christmas telly, drinking in the morning… there’s no reason to not fill your face with 24/7 bike-related content though. Bikes bikes bikes.

Sometimes, you also just need something small to fill five minutes. 2017 seems to have been a year of new mountain biking videogame announcements, and there are some old classics too. We’ve had a quick whizz around the office to list some videogames that’ll help you not forget about bikes amidst all the mince pies and scrabbling for batteries.

1. Lonely Mountains:

Lonely Mountains was successfully funded on Kickstarter earlier this year, though for now only has a demo available (link below). The game takes a beautiful low poly aesthetic not often seen in sport games, and uses it to create peaceful, isolated feeling locations. That calmness and abstraction somehow still doesn’t make the crashes any less wince inducing though:

(No video? Here’s a link).

At present there’s a 1 minute demo of Lonely Mountains for Mac or PC, though you’ll have to subscribe to their mailing list to get it.

2. GTA V:

Mountain biking first appeared in GTA San Andreas all the way back in 2004, and in 2013 made a return to the series for it’s fifth instalment. Ignore the missions, do some sightseeing, but don’t expect much from the *cough* highly realistic physics simulation. We’re not sure what tyres these are, but we want some this grippy:

(No video? Try this).

We hate it when this happens in real life:

(Can’t see it? The video awaits you, at the other end of this link).

3. Trials Fusion:

This is *whisper* actually about those evil, dirty motocross bikes, but this series is an exceptionally well designed take on a classic genre. While the game is 3D, movement is constrained to two of those dimensions and you only have to worry about forwards-backwards balance, plus your throttle and brakes. The difficulty is absurd, but instant restarts keep it extremely addictive:

The genre goes all the way back to GP Motocross on the Spectrum and Motocross Maniacs on the GameBoy (there’s also the classic sled themed LineRider, and the extremely purile and gruesome Happy Wheels). The Trials series started in 2009 on Xbox, but Trials Fusion is the most recent instalment and is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Plus, the downloadable content has a cat riding a unicorn.

Trials Fusion
“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders… and there was a cat with a gun riding a unicorn too”.

4. Bike Mayhem Extreme Mountain Racing:

If you want something in the same vein as Trials, but DEMAND it be mountain bike themed, this is a cheap game (with in-app purchases, natch) for Android and iOS:

(No video? Try a link then).

5. Bike Unchained:

This is the only free game (wint in-app purchases of course), and it’s by Red Bull, so the bikes and riders are officially licensed if you want that kind of thing. Though they are all hyper-macho caricatures. You’re guided by Kind-Of-Anime Claudio Caluori, and it involves a lot of tapping on the screen, a bit like a modern touch screen version of 80’s keyboard wrecker Track & Field. You can find it and watch the trailer here.

6. Descenders:

Descenders is currently in a closed beta, and so far appears like it might be going for some kind of ridiculous SSX-in-a-bike-park play style:

(No video embed showing? Link’s here).

7. Super Hexagon:

A controversial last choice for a list of bike related games, we know, but hear us out. Super Hexagon is an absurdly difficult game, seems impossible at first, and beginners survival times tend to be around five seconds. It’s a simple idea: you are the tiny triangle in the centre, and you must dodge clockwise and anti-clockwise to avoid the incoming walls.

(Can’t see it? Try a link).

“Not mountain bikes!” we hear you say, but we have a strong argument for this one: Unlike 3D simulations controlled through the inherently abstract layer of a keyboard or controller, of every videogame we’ve ever played, Super Hexagon is the one that most feels like mountain biking in terms of the way it uses brain and vision. Once you start playing there’s no pause or break; you’re committed. To play well, you need to maintain accuracy at the centre and simultaneously scan for incoming hazards with your peripheral vision. Overall it feels very like splitting your attention between that pinpoint of trail you’re staring ahead at, and all the physical sensations of traction and weight you’re feeling through a bike. As with a rough trail, the game runs so fast you’re dealing in obstacles per second, and to succeed you have to push your vision outward in order to continuously plan more than half a second ahead… whew.

Start a rivalry with a friend and you might be surprised at how far up the leaderboards it can drive you both. Even if you practice to the point you can beat creator Terry Cavanagh (not that anyone at Singletrack Towers has become that obsessed, ahem) it still looks impossibly fast when you watch someone else. Here’s Terry completing the last level:

(No video? Link!)

 

Got any more to add? Drop ’em in the comments.

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