There’s very little excitement in these bikes
I’m not generally opposed to the idea of one-button games. In fact, when done well they can be pretty awesome. On the other hand, they can also be a pretty shallow letdown. Motocross Meltdown falls somewhere in between those two extremes. It’s pretty, and it’s full of customization options that encourage replay, but it’s also very one-note. So much so that it’s rather difficult to remain interested for very long.
The basic idea of Motocross Meltdown is to keep winning races and other motocross-style events in order to earn enough money to upgrade your bike (or buy a better one). Then win tougher races and events to win more money to upgrade or purchase better bikes in order to win even tougher races, etc. Each event is one-on-one against either an AI rider or another player depending on the mode chosen, with the spoils going to the faster or higher-scoring participant.
There are a fair number of events that include stunts, races, a combination of the two, and more. However, they all play in pretty much the same fashion: watch as circles move across the bottom of the screen and tap a button at the right times throughout each event in order to optimize your performance. For most events, this means tapping at key moments for jumps and turns. For stunts, it means tapping at the proper time and holding down in order to extend the trick – just be careful not to hold it for too long. And that’s really all there is to it.
Motocross Meltdown is definitely a pretty game to watch in motion. The riders animate well, pyrotechnics light up the edges of the tracks, and by the end of a race everyone is appropriately dirty. The simplistic timing-based gameplay could even be viewed as a means to enjoy the visuals more thoroughly if you’d like to think of it that way. Pulling off tricks and landing them perfectly can also be quite satisfying, even despite their relative simplicity. The various customization options, bikes, and upgrades are also welcome and do a decent job of giving players a reason to stick around.
Unfortunately the gameplay is just too simple to ever feel truly challenging or compelling. Timing perfect button presses does take a tiny bit of skill, but many events can be won without any “Perfects.” Similarly, it won’t take long for paywalls to rear their ugly heads as the beginner events make way for the intermediates. This in itself wouldn’t be a problem if not for the fact that success is almost entirely determined by your bike’s performance as opposed to your own skills as a button tapper.
It’s hard to have fun playing a game this simple when what little input I have doesn’t appear to have any real significance. Some of the in-app purchase pop-ups are also a bit irritating – especially the “one time deals” that actually force you to check them out. Seriously, they don’t have any sort of “close” button. You have to check them out in the shop and then choose to leave.
The paywalls and in-app purchase ads can be rather off-putting, but they don’t ruin the fun of Motocross Meltdown because there really isn’t all that much fun to be had in the first place. It’s a decent and inoffensive one-button game that tries to keep its players interested with new gear and upgrades, and I can’t fault it for that. It’s just that the gameplay itself feels incredibly bland and empty.