Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Bike Baron ($1.99 Universal, $4.99 Mac) is a motorcycle based platform game where you navigate through an obstacle course designed to throw you off your game. Surprisingly addictive, with several thousands of courses to master, this game is virtually endless.
In Bike Baron, you maneuver the bike by utilizing two controls simultaneously. By leaning the Baron forward and backward using the two arrow buttons on the left side of the screen, you help keep the bike balanced and level. By pressing the red stop and green go button on the right side of the screen, you control how fast or how slow the bike will go. There is a setting to swap the controls for those among us that like to throttle up and down with our left hands. To jump over obstacles, you speed up the ramp by holding down the green go button. This helps thrust the bike higher into the air. By leaning forward and backward, you can perform forward and backward flips, and more importantly, control how precisely the bike lands on the next platform. The better the landing, the better you are situated to take on the next obstacle on the course.
Each course is composed of assorted track pieces laid out from left to right. The length of each course and the amount of time it takes to complete each course varies. Some courses are designed for faster speeds in order to make long jumps, perform numerous flips and beat the clock. Other courses are designed for more exacting control as you must navigate over rough terrain, dodge low-hanging obstacles, and perform exacting aerobatics to land perfectly perched on a small landing platform. This constant variation of “hurry up and stop” is what keeps you on your toes and makes the game fun to play.
Parts of the track are designed to break away seconds after touching them or tip over after being gently tapped. Tap too hard and you may crash instead. Other elements are introduced throughout the game like exploding cans, bombs and the occasional pumpkin. Knowing exactly how to navigate through each course can take some time to figure out. At times, you find yourself memorizing a series of carefully timed taps on each of the four controls to navigate a particular obstacle. There are checkpoints along each course, so you don’t have to start over completely when you do crash.
The courses are divided into four main categories, easy, medium, hard and extreme. You unlock additional “Joker Baron” courses in each category by achieving a perfect score and earning all three stars on each of the earlier courses. At the end of each course, you are awarded three stars for completing that course’s objectives. Sometimes you must collect all of the stars on a course to ear a star, other times you must perform a certain number of forward and backward flips to earn a star. Earning stars becomes important, as they are used as a sort of in-game currency that unlock the next course you want to move on to.
If you find that the supplied courses are too easy, or even too hard, you can always design your own course. Creating and sharing a custom course of your own is easy. You have access to building materials that are used throughout the game. This includes rocket packs for when extra speed is required, checkpoints at gas pumps to keep things moving along, and of course exploding barrels and other randomly placed obstacles to make completing your custom-built course more challenging. Once you have finished, you give it a name and share it online for others to try. You can download and try other courses as well. The best user-created courses are selected and made part of the “official” game in upcoming releases.
The recently introduced Mac version uses the keyboard for its controls. You can set which four keys control the bike. The only thing it appears to be lacking at the moment is Game Center integration and in-app purchases, which allow you to buy additional courses. Since you have access to the same massive library of user-created courses, this is hardly an issue. With thousands upon thousands of user-created courses to choose from, this weekend’s choice will definitely keep you occupied.