While I was sorely tempted to write a first impression piece on Arkham Asylum here, I shall endeavor to stick with the topic at hand. This week I’ve been playing a lot of Cyclomaniacs on Armor Games from creator LongAnimals. I’ve played through some of his other games as well, but this is the first one that held my attention for a long time. Cyclomaniacs is a side scrolling racing game with all the usual bells and whistles. Do tricks to get boost, try to score high and finish first. One of the best things about the game is the cast of characters.
Obviously, there are a lot of characters to unlock and the means by which you unlock them are varied and interesting. Do 15 back flips, hold a rear wheelie for 15 seconds of your ride — very few of the “quests” are as simple as winning the race. For you achievement addicts out there, there are tons to be had here. There are at least 3 per board and there are 6 worlds of 5 boards a piece. There is plenty to keep you coming back, although expect a little frustration. Unlocking certain achievements is easier with certain riders. Cycle King, for instance, rides a bike with a big back wheel and tiny front wheel. You can easily wheelie through almost the entire level.
The graphics have a fun hand drawn feel and the music is oddly compelling. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself humming it all day. The controls are simple arrows and space bar as jump. It works a lot like the “stunt rider” games that are floating around right now. Right shifts your weight forward, left shifts back. Up makes you go and down makes you stop. B allows you to blow a horn. The nice thing is that, unlike many of those games, the controls here are rather forgiving. If you over-tilt in one direction you still usually have time to recover.
This is a simple game to pick up, play for a bit, and leave. The races are about a minute to a minute and a half and your progress is saved as you go. If the boss shows up, you can exit quickly and pick up right where you left off. I think the fun of this game is obvious in the characters and the small, simple goals you can set before yourself to progress while you gain the riders and skill to tackle the harder achievements. I’m still not quite done with all the achievements, but I’m getting there. (Darn Batman is making everything else a little slow these days.) I’m happy to give Cyclomaniacs a strong 8.75 and suggest it to fans of silly racing games as well as fans of the stunt rider games.