Streetbike promised to be a reckless and raucous throwback to classic arcade bike racers; offering the same visceral moment to moment thrills and accessible controls of its venerable forebears. Excited? You bet we were.
Chillingo's latest effort may swagger like an ornery leather-clad biker, but sadly, the truth is much more pedestrian.
Streetbike: Full Blast's core gameplay is sound. Thrust into a few different events (several variations of straight races and time trials), you'll weave through traffic and overtake your rivals with slick tilt-screen controls. I've rarely encountered such responsive and precise tilt inputs from such a small studio, and it really helps to ground you in the action without having to fight the mechanics. A large selection of tracks can be unlocked by gaining stars from strong performances, though the murky graphics never really affords each one a distinct personality.
The mechanics are solid, then, but with a subtitle like 'Full Blast' you'd expect Streetbike to be a white-knuckle ride that will leave you forever changed. Even the blurb promises "breakneck speed." Bizarrely, though, you'll never experience a genuine sense of velocity, which is compounded by the aforementioned muddy visuals that never manage to impress.
Streetbike feels tacky and rushed from the outset thanks to its primitive menus, and things unfortunately go downhill from there. Fellow racers and oncoming vehicles behave in aggravatingly unpredictable ways - your opponents waver between implacable elites and blithering, braking idiots. And just to put the cherry on the cake, all twelve unlockable bikes share exactly the same model. They're just palette-swapped clones rather than individually crafted vehicles.
This lack of value is compounded by a couple of IAPs that, frankly, border on the insulting. All the bikes look exactly the same, so why would I want to pay extra to unlock them all?
What we're left with is a game that balances out its decent gameplay with sub-par presentation and frequent annoyances. Luckily, we have a word for that.
- Sweet tilt controls
- Lots of tracks and events
- Satisfying core gameplay
- Murky visuals
- Aggravating opponent and traffic behaviour
- No sense of excitement or speed
Summary: Streetbike: Full Blast is a solid yet utterly uninspired racer that fails to provide enough excitement to be worth a purchase.
Developer: Turtles Entertainment
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
Price: £0.69 - App Store