Developer: ECA-GAMES, Ltd.
Price: $2.99 Download on the App Store
You've entered a world where adrenaline rules, where tricksters earn the big bucks, and where flooring it is the way to live: You've come to the world of motocross racing.
Rock(s) Rider, developed by the folks at ECA-Games, is a new and interesting physics-based side-scrolling racer based on the Unity engine. In the game you can race on opponents for cash, make bets on how fast (or well) you can complete courses, and get a huge rush of adrenaline all while doing it.
The store behind Rock(s) Rider is rather simplistic. In a comic-book style, the story follows through a series of frames explaining your interest in racing among a group of hardened, and rather dangerous looking, bikers. The new guy in the group, you have to work your way through the variety of courses they offer, winning cash from races and from the bets you make with others to use to advance to the next level. You can also earn bonuses in cold, hard, cash for making awesome stunts while racing, or lose your cash just as fast by wiping out in the race.
In all honesty, there is a mixed feeling I get while playing. For one, the graphics are impressive, soundtracks are excellent, and there is certainly a very polished feeling out of the game. Then again, this game claims to offer the player a truly immersive experience with physics-based gameplay, which is frankly the equivalent of junk. The 'physics' experience is merely the ability to move your bike in the air as you jump over hoops and move through loops (which by the way are very difficult to handle for beginners without first understanding the physics) which consists of your body and bike moving quite lazily in the air as you adjust it with the movement arrows on the screen. This causes a quite poor physics experience as your character appears to be swinging from a string, rather getting sweet air.
To add to the issue, the gameplay is just not that fun unless you are a die-hard racing fan. While games like Galaxy on Fire and Finger Race offer you comprehensive gameplay that's very well polished and tailored for that experience (such as expecting a car to drift in a race, and so on with the physics and controls making sense) Rock(s) Rider simply feels missing that same feeling in the gameplay. Instead, Rock(s) Rider's side-scrolling experience is finickey and depletes from the enjoyment rather significantly. It can also get very frustrating to meddle with the controls as your character merely taps a wall and is knocked out - so be prepared for a learning curve.
In the end, Rock(s) Rider works hard to offer an experience that is memorable, but just appears to fall short not because of its lack of polish, but lack of working fundamentals. A side-scrolling game like this just doesn't seem to work. Perhap's its the level design or the poor physics but either way Rock(s) Riders is only for die-hard racers with the patience to get a feeling for the unique gameplay. It's a universal app for all iOS devices running iOS 3.2 or later.