Night Ride is one endless experience that can’t end soon enough
Night Ride‘s product description compares it to games like Jetpack Joyride, Doodle Jump, and Tiny Wings, and while the survival-style is similar to those other titles, there’s plenty that sets it apart. Unfortunately, outside of pretty visuals, the features that make Night Ride stand out from others in its genre are also the reasons why it’s a very bad game. If you like this genre, like mobile gaming, or are a living (or even dead) human being, let’s just pretend you didn’t see this game.
Black Bunny Studio’s first Android outing is one that is better off forgotten. In concept, Night Ride is another run-of-the mill survival-style game with the style of Tron. The game finds you riding a motorcycle down a five-lane track picking up collectibles for points, obtaining power-ups, and avoiding obstacles. It’s hardly a new concept, but many games — including the ones Night Ride compares itself to — have proven that the idea works if the rest of the game impresses.
The only way Night Ride is going to impress you is if you simply look at screenshots. The game’s Tron-like visuals aren’t going to get people talking, but they certainly stand out as the best part of the game (by far).
Quite frankly, once you get by the visuals the rest of the game struggles to do anything right. Progressing through the game and gathering achievements go hand-in-hand, which is a neat idea. The problem with it stems from the gameplay itself. Collecting items, driving on accelerators, and gaining points are nice goals to have, but it’s hard to focus on reaching them when you’re trying to get around the many, many issues with the gameplay.
The hardest part about writing this review is deciding which problem I should discuss first. I suppose one of the most obvious flaws is in the controls. You’re given the choice between two control schemes: Tilt and tap. The tilt controls are horrendous. The road is five lanes wide and you’re always locked into a lane, the controls feel quite a bit off. To make matters worse, the tilt sensors are far too sensitive, so it’s incredibly easy to overshoot your lane by wide margin, even if you’re barely tilting the device.
Tap controls aren’t much better. Unlike tilting, tapping needs to be far more sensitive. Simply tapping the left/right buttons won’t do anything, you need to hold it for a second. Once the game manages to registers movement, it wastes no time zipping you over farther than you wanted. A little practice makes things easier, but when the speed picks up, it’s likely to lead you right into an obstacle.
The game plays pretty slow, in a few ways. Early levels will be a complete bore to most players, because you move very slow. You can often accelerate by “tapping” the screen, but with tap controls, it makes it harder to turn quickly during acceleration. The other instance comes from massive frame rate drops. Sometimes it felt like I was watching a slideshow instead of playing a game. The controls are enough of a hassle as it is, once the frame rate drops, the game is pretty much unplayable.
There are plenty of other issues I could go into as well. The sound isn’t anything worth writing home about, the obstacles and power-ups don’t do too much to add the challenge (the controls are the biggest uphill battle), and the game lacks any sort of meaningful options.
There’s not much good to say about Night Ride. The only thing keeping it from being scored any lower is the not-horrible visual style and the fact the game doesn’t crash.
I know it’s free, but stay away from this game. Just trust me on this one.