Developer: Pankaku, Inc.
Price: $2.99 Download on the App Store
It’s hard to believe that it has been almost 30 years since the release of the movie TRON, a creative and technical marvel in its time. In LightBike, Pankaku has created a game that sets out to recreates the classic bike race from the movie. Does their game bring back fond memories for fans of the movie? Absolutely!
The basics in LightBike are easy to grasp. You take control of a bike against a field of three other competitors and the goal is to be the last one standing. As you drive your bike, color walls develop in your wake that are used to destroy the other bikes. In addition, there is a rechargeable boost that can be used to get around the square battlefield quicker. The first bike to win three rounds wins the overall matchup. Each round lasts approximately 40 seconds, and a draw result occurs if there isn’t a winner at the end of the time period.
Getting around the battlefield is a breeze on the iPhone. Bikes accelerate on their own and steering is done by tapping on the left or right side of the horizontally oriented screen. Precision is achieved by having the bikes always turn at a 90 degree angle.
Pankaku stayed true to the visuals and sounds from TRON. Graphics maintain a very simple and minimalistic 3D style. I’m not a designer so I won’t begin to try to describe the visuals and sound effects, so have a look at this YouTube clip to get a feel for the TRON universe. You may not consider it ground breaking relative to what’s out there today, but it’s a good throwback style that many TRON fans will be able to appreciate.
Regarding depth, there are no dedicated campaign modes or tournament structures in LightBike. Once a matchup is won, that’s it. Boo! So from a single player perspective, the scope is disappointing. Here’s hoping an update is coming soon to address the single player issues.
Multiplayer LightBike — split-screen on the same iPhone or over the same local Wi-Fi network with two devices — is a great touch to create replay value. Performance is just as good as the single player mode. A glaring omission in this game is the lack of online multiplayer action. Since this game has such a bare bones single player mode, online play is really missed. I hear that it may be in the works for an update, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Despite some of my issues with the lack of features, I’m having a good time playing this game over and over. For 99 cents, LightBike is a great value game that pays homage to an awesome movie.