Djinnworks’s Stickman games may look simple and accessible, but they’re far from easy. Stickman Bike Battle is no exception.

The aim of the game is to win races and top up your reserves with prize money, before spending this money on better bikes and riders.

It’s a familiar free-to-play progress mechanic, but it won’t be long before you have to start knuckling down and racing with as much skill as you can muster, or your progress will be achingly slow.

This beginner’s guide will help you stay at the front of the peloton.

How to race

Stickman Bike Battle uses an unusual 2.5D perspective. The camera always points the same way, but sometimes you’re riding away from it, sometimes towards, and sometimes from side to side.

The trick is to keep your rider on the best racing line. You’ll be surprised how totally you can leave your opponent in the dust by taking a corner well, which means maintaining your momentum going into it and sticking to the inside.

The best way to lose momentum, aside from having to change direction because you’ve gone the wrong way or recovering from a misstep, is to turn in the air during a jump and land in an orientation perpendicular to one you set off in.

To avoid this, you need to know when to use the jumping potential of a hill to your advantage and when to neutralize a slope.

In general, being in the air is worse than being on the ground. The exceptions are when there’s a chasm to cross, in which case you need to hit the up slope as fast as possible and help yourself along with a tap of the ‘jump’ button.

For all other hills, you should tap the ‘pump’ button to keep yourself low. This will help you go as fast as possible and avoid those awkward, momentum-sapping mid-air turns.

It’s also worth getting plenty of practise in on the various courses before you take on any human opponents, since you’re bound to lose races, and by extension a bit of gold, until you’ve learned how to conquer a track.

Finally, always – ALWAYS – go through the checkpoints. You’ll know this has happened because the checkpoint markers will explode. If you skip one, you’ll get a notification.

It’s tempting to ignore this and concentrate on the race, but doing so is futile since that entire lap will become void. Just turn around and go back. You’ll probably still lose the race, but your odds will be better.

How to progress

Knowing how to race is important, but it’s arguably not as important as buying new bikes and riders.

Each race costs a certain number of coins to enter – the higher the level, the higher the fee. If you lose, your stake is forfeit, but if you win you pocket all of the prize money. Again, the higher the level, the more you get.

There are other ways to obtain coins, too. You can claim 25 for free every 60 minutes, 50 for watching a video, 50 for liking the app on Facebook, 50 for following it on Twitter, and in addition you can buy coins in bundles ranging in cost from £1.89 to £92.99. Plus, there’s a wheel of fortune that you can spin for free once every eight hours, or for 99p if you can’t wait.

A few of these coins will go on entering races, but you’ll spend the vast majority on buying new bikes.

Each bike has four characteristics: Max Speed, Agility, Jump, and Pump. The more expensive the bike, the higher the levels of these characteristics, though they’re distributed in different ways. For example, the Hardtail has outstanding Agility but relatively underpowered Pump, while the Fat Fully goes big on Jump.

That means there’s some justification for choosing a cheaper bike over a more expensive one if it happens to reflect your cycling tastes. On the whole, though, the more a bike costs the better it is.

As well as upgrading your bike you can upgrade your rider, though the only category to upgrade is Acceleration. This takes folding money rather than coins. Your supply of paper cash is much more restricted than your supply of gold, so it’ll be a while before you can afford to unlock every character.

Unless, of course, you lay down some real cash. As with coins, the game lets you get a bit of free cash by connecting the game with Facebook. Otherwise you can buy it in bundles ranging from £1.89 to £92.99.

To earn the gold you need, as well as to level-up your profile sufficiently to unlock new tracks, you’ll need to keep going back and replaying previous tracks. This keeps getting easier, however, since you keep acquiring more powerful bikes and riders.

And that’s just about that. Follow this guide and you’ll storm through Stickman Bike Battle like an Olympic cyclist trying to get away from a herd of zombie cheetahs.