Aug 20, 2011

Lane Splitter

Being a motorcycle owner and rider in real life I'm sometimes a sucker for any new motorcycle game that comes along.  I used to love the old moto gp games on the consoles and some of the newer side scrolling motorcycle games have been fun as well.  Lane splitter takes a different approach and gives us a top down view of our motorcycle and the road.  Once you're riding all you have to do is steer left and right with the accelerometer avoiding the cars and sides of the road as long as you can.  It's a fairly simple game that is well executed and graphically a treat.

What I really like about this game is the polish.  Everything in the game just feels professionally done and for a free game that is really impressive.  The advertisements are shown at the bottom of the screen but not during game play which is really nice.  I did see a few foreign language advertisements but again these are not very distracting at all and if the developer can make their money this way I'm all for it.  Coming into the game presents you with a few options including "Play", "Scores" and "Options".  The options screen lets you set up the calibration on the next game run which is nice if you are playing laying down which might mean your screen orientation is different.  You can also tweak the handling here between novice and pro.  It actually makes a pretty big difference in how the bike handles so try it out both ways.  There's also a button here for turning the sound off.  I wish that you could adjust the music and the sound effects independently but it's all or nothing here.  Sometimes I just don't like a game's music track or get tired of it but like to hear the sound effects.  A little nit pick, but hey, this is a review, right?  Finally in the options there is a submit scores selection.  Here you can sync up the game with your Facebook account and battle it out with your buddies for the longest ride.  Unfortunately no one I have in my friends list plays this game so I wasn't able to test it out.  The global scores though are ridiculously high as usual, the top guy has almost 150k while I'm barely able to squeak out a 6k run.

Hitting play from the main menu takes you immediately into the game.  Your bike begins accelerating rapidly and the road starts whizzing by.  Your goal is to just keep it upright and not wreck.  You do this by tilting your device left and right to steer.  A press of the screen will perform a wheelie for as long as you hold it.  Your bike is much trickier to steer while in wheelie mode but you also score more points.  Did I mention there is no way to slow down?  The game also tells you how long you held your wheelie once you let it down so a side challenge can be how long you can hold the trick.  Unfortunately the game doesn't keep track of this stat so you'll just have to make a game of it yourself.  There are other ways to score higher as well such as getting closer to cars as you pass.  Hit something and it's all over but the shout.  Your guy will fly up in the air and the bike will crash and it's game over, no extra lives here.  At this point your score will be displayed and you'll have the option to change your high score name, play again, return to the main menu or post the score to Facebook. 

This game is addictive and fun.  It gets a LOT harder as you go along.  The bike speeds up every so often automatically, there are heavy traffic patterns and probably more that I haven't been able to make it to yet.  It's great fun, easy to play and the fact that I keep hitting play again tells me that this is a keeper.  Giving it away for free makes this one a no brainer.  Sure there are other features that would make it a more robust game but as is you simply must try it.  See if you can beat my current high score of 6865, I'm sure you'll bust it in no time.  Meanwhile I'll just keep hitting play again until I can do better and get a high enough score to warrant a Facebook post.  As a real rider my paltry score is a little embarrassing at the moment.  I sure am having a blast with it though!  I give Lane Splitter 4.5 out of 5 stars!

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