Giant Moto Review

   16/04/2010 at 08:55       Phil May       1 COMMENTS. - Score 4/5
 - Giant Moto, Rocket 5 Studios, Motorbikes, Jumps, Excitebike

History lesson

The NES may have been a clunky old machine prone to hardware failures and drip-fed with a pretty atrocious release catalogue in the UK (some things about Nintendo never change) but it did host a few truly excellent games. I must admit I never owned a copy of ExciteBike for the NES, but the Student Union Bar where I spent rather too much of the mid 80s had one of those bizarre NES-based multi arcade machines. Excitebike was nearly always the game of choice for the gathered beer quaffers, who spent a lot of coinage trying to best each other’s scores.

Rocket 5 have paid homage to this classic slice of bike-based fun in their latest title, Giant Moto. Mixing simple pick-up-and-play controls with the essential elements of the original, then applying a high sheen to the visuals and the gameplay seems to have paid off. For a measly 59p it’s surprisingly good value and has the right ingredients to make it an eminently suitable game for the iPhone / iPod Touch. Comprising 6 levels (gradually increasing in complexity) and multiple skill levels, Giant Moto should appeal to young and old alike (my daughter found it easy enough to get to grips with and was attracted by the colourful palette and great waspy motorbike noises that capture the essence of the original Excitebike perfectly).

Split into two main modes, Giant Moto allows you to play as a solo biker facing off against the clock to notch up your best track time, or against other AI racers who do their best to pip you to the post or generally get in your way.

Control-wise, the on-screen touch stuff works well enough with an accelerate and boost button, and two controls that move you left or right between each track lane (essential for avoiding nasty sticky patches of mud or other obstacles that crop up on each track).

The tilt controls of your touch device can also raise / lower the bike’s front wheel so you can land jumps and pull stunts to try and shave a few more microseconds off your track time. Each race makes you juggle the risks of using boost (too much and you blow up your engine, stalling you for vital seconds - too little and your competitors will leave you eating dust), and also getting the best racing line avoiding all the pitfalls).

Once again I’ll emphasise the price of Giant Moto. 59p buys you a blisteringly good fun arcade game that does justice to the original Excitebike. What it doesn’t buy you is any OpenFeint / Plus + support for online score tables, and no multiplayer (unless like me you play “pass the phone” and compete against your friends for best track times locally). The developer has promised to add more tracks and features in further updates, which would help with the game's slight lack of variety but to be absolutely fair, you’re really never going to feel ripped off by something that plays this well and costs this little.

So if you’ve got fond memories of one of Nintendo’s early classics, and want to see a perfect example of a developer paying attention to all the elements that made the original a solid little game, then pick up Giant Moto and get down and dirty with those humungous jumps. 

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