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MotoHeroz • Page 2

Just for wand day.

But perhaps more interesting is that you can download a daily challenge level and compete against friends to set a high score. RedLynx has a pot of 50 levels that it will cycle through for this, so in theory you and a buddy who know each other online could decide to play a bit of MotoHeroz of an evening, and you'd have a readymade level playing field to fight over. Levels are only about 20 kilobytes, too, so you'll be ready before you know it unless you're playing someone from 1997.

The social side of MotoHeroz is really where it's at, and the game jumps off the screen and nestles in your consciousness when it's thrown into multiplayer. Up to four players can engage in a local Party mode, and it's not split-screen, it's single-screen; each of your buggies appears together at the start, twitching and jostling for position, and you have to race, wrestle and climb over one another to reach the goal.

Frequently speed is not the best answer at one point I'm well ahead and dash into a carousel that will spin me happily into the finishing bauble, which dangles temptingly from a tree, only for one of the RedLynx developers to take a shortcut by pulling up short of the jump and tipping slowly over the edge, cutting out my faster-paced by unnecessarily elaborate pre-victory lap.

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The simultaneous multiplayer is a riot.

If Trials was performance art, MotoHeroz is a shameful squabble. Expect to talk smack as you tot up victories over a sequence of levels and hurl abuse when you do not. The outcome is far from random, but there are enough variables that luck does factor into it. And sitting down with two or three other people and telling it to throw you into a chosen number of random levels one after the next is a great pick-up prospect.

And while this is definitely not Trials, it does embody one of its most important characteristics: absorbing, palpably artful level design. Each track is a snakes-and-ladders board of intersecting rollercoasters, closer to Sonic the Hedgehog than Excitebike, and finding the most rewarding lines will be a tactile pleasure.

Playing MotoHeroz in a week that Satoru Iwata announced his concerns about games "drowning" in the immense depths of places like the iTunes App Store, one hopes that games like MotoHeroz and Rochard will be exceptions (or that he's just wrong, innit).

But even if they only reach a limited audience when all is said and done, that audience should be very much entertained and the beardy citizens of Funland are likely to hammer on regardless, which is an encouraging thought.

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