Neon Rider is one of those classic “bike” style games where the control scheme is always the same, no matter who’s made it.


The aim of these games is to get your vehicle to the end of the level without crashing or toppling over. To go forward, you press up, while pressing down will bring you to a halt (some of these games even have a reverse gear!).


You have to keep your vehicle balanced by tapping left or right. Fail to keep yourself upright and you’ll crash (after all, vehicles tend to have wheels at the bottom for a reason).


Anyone who’s played flash games will have come across one of these games once in a while. In fact, when myself and my brothers were first discovering “teh internet”, we used to play this sort of game all the time. And I have something of a confession to make.


I’m RUBBISH at them.


While my brothers could overcome the toughest slopes and perform multiple backflips with their bikes, I would sometimes have difficulty travelling along a flat surface and would pull an impromptu wheelie, landing flat on my arse.


Neon Rider Image 1


Oh boy. Doesn’t look too difficult, I can do this one.


This game is a lot easier than others of its type. The little Tron cycle handles about as well as any other game of this type, but the slopes are much smoother and easier to cope with. This adds a few immediate points from me for making it fun rather than frustrating.


Anyway, the first two levels are very basic, with the only obstacles being a couple of easily avoidable pits. You can make your vehicle do wheelies and backflips too, though I tend to avoid doing these because I’m crap. I’ll come back to the trick system later.


The only thing that strikes you as odd is why the controls have been mapped onto wasd instead of the arrow keys.


As soon as you hit level three, you realise why. The arrow keys are used to change the colour of your bike. This is essential, as parts of the later tracks are in different colours that can only be travelled on when your bike is in the corresponding colour.


This is a great idea for a play mechanic. There’s plenty of scope for the player to leap from track to track, changing his colour to go onto different rails and dodge obstacles.


Neon Rider Image 2


Just don’t go solid while you’re inside a track, otherwise you’ll be kinda dead.


The game is also more forgiving than others, as you have an energy bar. Falling on your arse won’t kill you straight away.


The puzzles, as they are, get more complex as time goes on. You have to change colours to avoid crashing into a wall, to take short cuts, to stop yourself falling through the level, and my favourite – change colours to keep yourself going on a loop-the-loop.


Neon Rider Image 3


This is one of the last levels and it’s the most fun.


The game has 20 levels to get through but it’s a score attack game at heart. The challenge is in getting the lowest time possible.


This is where the trick system comes in. Every backflip, wheelie, or extended period of airtime you pull off will take a few hundredths of a second off your time. There are also little point orbs dotted around the levels too, which further reduce your time.


A few hundredths of a second may not sound like much, but none of the levels are more than 30 seconds long and some are considerably shorter. Taking huge chunks off your time for driving through an orb would feel like cheating.


Any complaints? Well, the techno music does fit the action but thank God there’s a mute button.


And the other thing is, well…


It’s too easy.


Sure, it’s fun and the whole point is to keep improving your score, but I found myself gaining in confidence and wanting more of a challenge. A challenge that never really came.


And there was me complaining about these games being too hard. I’m such a hypocrite.


Mind you, there’s plenty of scope for a sequel…



Follow the line: Neon Rider



Written by: Richard Wilson

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