The best thing about multiplayer is the alternate routes in each map - when you're left behind and there's a scrap going on up ahead, boosting onto a higher platform often takes you straight into the lead - and right at the end of levels, the hanging 'goal' marker can often be the cue for a four-way ruck and increasingly clumsy-desperate attempts to have your buggy brush it first. There aren't many great 2D, side-on racing games in multiplayer, and MotoHeroz fits into that category - but in a limited manner.
The thing is, it's local only. You can get away with basic online integration on the Wii because that's where the bar has been set, so RedLynx has. On XBLA or PSN this would be called out for the lack of true online multiplayer in an instant, and rightly so: it's great when you have three mates round, but the rest of the time feels like it's missing a limb.
What online there is comes in the form of leaderboards and daily challenges, a structure that lends itself to the kind of players who enjoy playing a level over and over in order to get the best time. Some of these limit you to one attempt but allow infinite practice rounds beforehand. If you like chasing leaderboards then fair enough, and this does the job; the constantly shifting times and daily challenges are considerable boons for such players. But I prefer my racing games to offer online racing.
It's impossible to play a RedLynx game and not have Trials HD in the back of your mind, and the comparison here brings into sharp focus just how little replay value there is outside of those leaderboards and the single-player campaign's gold medals and ancestors. Where are the extra modes that really squeeze the juice from its great handling? Trials HD's skill games were as much a part of that game's excellence as the Expert levels: creative and constantly surprising challenges like keeping your bike upright in a ball-cage or flying through rings of fire with an endless jet boost.
Is it fair to criticise MotoHeroz for what it lacks? I think so, because 'bonus' modes are anything but fripperies in a game like this. They're a huge part of your motivation for mastering its handling model. Long after the single-player levels are exhausted, they retain their appeal. Trials HD had 24 skill games: MotoHeroz doesn't have a single one. When the game already boasts a load of power-ups that seem to beg for their own showcase it seems baffling.
There's an interesting corollary to this. MotoHeroz comes frontloaded with the option to download a 'party pack', which I tried to buy but is currently unavailable. Now we come back to WiiWare. It's no secret that download sales on Nintendo's platform simply can't compete with XBLA or PSN: is it possible that RedLynx has so little faith in the platform they've split off these key aspects of MotoHeroz in an effort to maximise revenue from a small but committed audience? It's entirely possible that, when available, this add-on will offer the extra modes and replay value the game sorely needs.
It's tempting to overvalue MotoHeroz because it's the best thing on WiiWare in some time, but that's a bit like saying I'm the most handsome writer on Eurogamer. Is it a premium download or a partial game for a premium price? It looks an awful lot like the latter.
Buy MotoHeroz, by all means - it's cheerful and fun while it lasts, with some levels that compare with the developer's very finest work. But in the context of what else is out there, and more importantly by RedLynx's own very high standards, this is, at best, above average.