“Mad Riders”, from Techland, is an off-road ATV racing game focused on outrageous amounts of air and gravity defying tricks. The game’s arcade nature offers players a genuinely fun racing experience, but repetitious track designs and a frustrating respawn system damage the overall quality of the game.

“Mad Riders” has three distinct game modes: Singleplayer Tournaments, Off-road Elite races, and online matches. The player earns a star rating at the end of each race in the Singleplayer Tournaments (first place gives three stars and third place gives one star). The player levels up and earns experience points by winning matches and earning stars. Each new player level unlocks new character skins, new paint jobs, and new vehicles. As well, earning a set amount of stars in a given tournament will unlock the next tournament. The game’s system of unlocking tournaments and gaining XP is nothing new but it provides incentive to try each tournament and race.

Off Road Elite races are for players who really want a challenge. These are single events that force players to race as perfectly as possible in order to win and unlock specialized vehicles for use in other singleplayer races.

“Mad Riders” multiplayer offers nothing new from the game’s singleplayer tournaments. However, the challenge of racing against other, usually hyper-aggressive, players adds a level of frantic fun that is missing in the singleplayer.

The Vibrancy of Grit
For a racing game focused on careening through mud-caked environments, “Mad Riders” is a surprisingly colourful game. Players won’t be wowed with the game’s graphical detail but the sheer vibrancy of the tracks is enough to make the visuals standout. The game’s music and sound effects are all standard pulse pounding sounds that adequately reflect the fast-paced racing on screen.

Big Air, Big Tricks
Each track features huge jumps that allow players to perform gravity defying tricks. The left stick maneuvers the racer through the air, which is useful if there is an aerial target (a floating red circle). The player can use the left stick to move his/her racer to hit a floating target in mid jump. The left stick, in conjunction with A and the left bumper, is also used for tricks. Want to do a series of back flips off a huge jump? Simply pull down on the left stick and watch your racer flip through the air. Hitting targets and doing tricks provides boost, which is activated by pressing X to give the racer a boost of speed. As well, doing more tricks awards the player more XP at the end of each race. Pulling off tricks is satisfyingly fun and the ridiculous jumps provide a certain visceral excitement.

3, 2, 1, GO!”
There are 5 distinct race types: traditional races, timed races called “Race the Clock” (where the player must reach the next checkpoint before the clock runs down), “Arena” races (where the player must pass through checkpoints that appear at seemingly random places throughout the arena), “Ghost Challenge” races (where the player races against the ghost of a “pro”), and “Stunt Races” (where players perform tricks for points). Arena races and Stunt Races are a blast to play. Trying to guess where the next checkpoint will emerge and trying to pull off one more trick on a massive jump, without crashing, is thrilling. The other race types are fun but they are available in many other racing games. Also, it seems that the Race The Clock races are disproportionally more difficult than all the other race types. I was able to place in first or second in almost all races, although most Race The Clock races I couldn’t even finish.


Track Woes and Random Respawns
The two major issues with the game are repetitious track design and a bizarre racer respawn system. In every tournament, online match, and Off Road Elite race, you will come across the same tracks. In some tournaments the tracks might be a little longer with some new areas but they are pretty much the same tracks regardless. This would not be such an issue if there were more variety but most tracks simply play and feel like every other track in the game.

Then there is the game’s odd respawn system. In many racing games when the player crashes the game will respawn the player on the track with a small time penalty. “Mad Riders” uses this basic respawn design to ensure that racers, even when they wipe out, can complete a race—except it is completely inconsistent. There were many times where I would simply touch an object and the game reacted as if I crashed—respawning my racer in the middle of the track. Or I would be sailing through the air and land in an area where I can easily proceed forward down the track but the game just decides to respawn my racer for seemingly no good reason. Again this wouldn’t be such a big issue if the respawns were consistent, but they are not. There are certain areas where I would miss a landing spot from a jump by a few feet but still be able to drive on, whereas on a different track (or a different part of the same track) I’d miss another landing spot by a few feet—with an obvious path to keep going down the track—and my racer would be reset. There were many times when I threw my hands up in frustration thanks to the games inconsistent use of respawns.

Multiplayer Mayhem
“Mad Riders” is at its best when playing online. Though the game’s multiplayer does not offer any new maps or race types, simply racing down a track with players that are trying to knock you off the edge of a cliff or simply trying to edge around you brings a whole new dynamic to the game. Some more options for online play would be appreciated but what is offered gives players a basic thrill of flying through the air while trying to smash into other races as crazy tricks are pulled off with ease.


“Mad Riders” is a game that has serious potentially but largely misses the mark. Pulling off tricks, getting huge air, and racing online is surprisingly fun. Unfortunately, the game’s bizarre respawn mechanics and repetitious tracks detract from the visceral enjoyment of blasting through mud and air. Overall, Mad Riders features some thrills and excitement but nothing that really demands the attention of gamers.

  • Tricks are easy and fun to pull off
  • Multiplayer is fun and frantic
  • Inconsistent respawn system
  • Lack of track variety
  • Lack of online modes
Quote: "Mad Riders features some thrills and excitement but nothing that really demands the attention of gamers."
Reviewed by James Farrington | 06.08.12 | Xbox 360

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Mad Riders




US Release
May '12



Players 1
Online MP 2-12
Dolby 5.1
D/L Content
800 MS Points
1.68 GB