reviews and playing tips: Pocket PC games
Bike or Die! by Szymon Ulatowski/Toyspring,
Price: $14.95 Reviewed November 2004 by TerpKristin
For bike enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike, Bike or
Die! is an original sports/arcade game for the Palm OS. With
25 challenging levels, an available custom level editor,
and the ability to play the game on most Palm OS devices,
the game offers a high amusement factor and great replay-ability
for most users.
The premise of the game is simple: get all of the red flags
then the checkered flag to move on to the next level. With
realistic physics added to the simulation, this task, though,
isn't so easy. Bike or Die! features smooth graphics, a variety
of terrain-types, and many obstacles to keep you challenged.
If competing against yourself to get the best time on each
course isn't enough, you can record your performances and
submit them to the Bike or Die! website. There, you can compete
with others from around the world in time trial (fastest
completion time of each level) and freestyle (a competition
to do the best tricks while completing the level) competitions.
Control of your bike is done with
the hard keys on your device. For newer devices, the 5-way
directional pad may also be used to control how your bike
moves. The control of the game is fully customizable so
you can choose a set of controls that you feel most comfortable
with. A nice feature added on is the ability to "lock out" the
other keys. This feature makes sure you don't accidentally
exit the game by hitting a non-game hard key while on your
way to a personal best on the course.
The graphics, like the rest of the
game, are fairly simple but customizable. When you first
install the game, you can install the black & white only version, the low resolution
color version, or the high resolution color version, depending
on the capabilities of your device. In testing the game for
this review, I installed the high resolution color version.
In this version, you can change the color scheme (black & white
or color) and choose the level of detail for the background
(from minimalist detail just displaying the surface you're
biking on to full textured detail of the terrain). You can
also choose the color of your bike. Though the graphics are
simple, their simplicity doesn't distract from the game at
Sound, as of version 1.2f, is limited to various effects
as you pedal, touch flags, land from jumps and fall/die.
They don't add much to the game, though they're not necessary
to play it, either. In the end, if you want background music
while you're gaming, Bike or Die! may be a disappointment.
Overall, Bike or Die! is a wonderfully entertaining game.
It is fun to try and beat your best time for each level;
the ability to submit your times and videos of your trials
online is an added perk for more competition should you want
it. Depending on how well you control the bike, each run
through the levels can take as little as 10 seconds or up
to a few minutes. This makes the game great if you've only
got a few minutes free, but it is also highly addictive and
you may find yourself playing for a half an hour or more
at a time! Regardless of how often you play, each game is
different depending on how well you control the bike each
time. The available Level Editor is a useful tool to keep
the game fresh-if you manage to set great records on every
existing level, you can always go make your own.
Playing Hints and Tips
This game might be frustrating for beginners, because it
can take awhile to get through the first few levels (as of
this review, I'm only on level 4!). Keep playing, though,
and you'll get it. The first few levels have tutorials built
in so you can pick it up and learn to play pretty quickly.
If you're still stuck on getting through levels, the developer's
website has recordings of others going through each level
(this is what gets submitted when you submit your best times
and performances). Looking at the videos online of how other
people completed the level can sometimes help you figure
out how to get through it the first time.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
They’re nothing to write home about, but that certainly doesn’t detract
from the game.
Cute sound effects, but they don’t
add anything to the experience. Personally, I usually play
with the sound off (let’s face it, I’m often playing
during class and the sound would be a dead giveaway that I
wasn’t paying attention!).
Every game is different and it’s
always a challenge. For such a simple idea for a game, it’s
surprisingly fulfilling to set a new record or to complete
a level for the first time.
After playing the first time, I found
myself consistently picking it up to try and “beat my
last time.” I also had a friends who needed to remove
it from his device because he was playing too much and not
getting any work (or sleep) done.