Ratalaika Games has been on a hot streak lately when it comes to bringing back 16-bit triumphs for a new generation to enjoy. Gleylancer came out of obscurity pretty nicely, and Gynoug (Wings of Wor) impressed us to no end when it came out a couple of months ago. Now we have Moto Roader MC, a game that scored mega-points on the Turbo-Grafx back in the day. The real question, however, is how it fares now.
For those needing a quick history lesson, Moto Roader is a top-down racing game, where players compete across a series of tracks. However, unlike the zoomed-in view on the Turbo, this one has more of an “I can see the whole track” vibe. That makes it easier for players to enjoy the multiplayer, or at the very least get a view of how the track fares.
There is some cute designs in places here, along with a number of mini-games to enjoy. With that said, Moto Roader does come up short in one crucial area.
A Full Package, But One Missing Ingredient
Ratalaika has loaded up Moto Roader with goodness galore. Granted, you’ll get more out of it if you have friends along for the ride.
The game’s single player mode just feels like it drags, especially with AI cars following the usual motions. That’s not to say it isn’t fun and can’t get you prepped for multiplayer, but it would’ve been nice to have more story. For that matter, perhaps some context and ultra-cool cars would’ve been nice. They’re all about the same here.
Multiplayer does excel, thanks to a number of offered mini-games, along with the main races. Up to four can take part, and there are some Omake games that are a blast. One in particular resembles Rocket League to an extent, though it lacks the fine physics of Psyonix’s games. Still, for seven bucks, you get your money’s worth. I just wish online multiplayer was included – it’s sorely missing here.
So, where does Moto Roader come up short? It’s the gameplay. It should be pretty easy to nail down driving mechanics in a top-down racing game, one would think. However, it feels like a struggle going into each turn while maintaining a proper speed. We saw our fair share of accidental collisions throughout, frustratingly knocking us out of a first-place spot. With a little fine-tuning, it could’ve easily been a next-gen Super Sprint for players to enjoy. As it stands, it just ends up, ahem, steering players wrong.
How’s Moto Roader Look These Days? Well…
Moto Roader MC doesn’t score many points when it comes to presentation. What’s here isn’t that bad, but isn’t amazingly good either. That’s not even counting any sort of competition with, say, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
The sound seems pretty bland for the most part. Some of the tunes are pretty good, but the general sound effects are lacking, particularly with engine noises. The game is sorely missing any kind of announcer. Someone with a wacky tone would’ve fit in with the game’s décor here.
As for the graphics, they’re okay. While the zoomed-out perspective is easier to stomach than the up-close one, it also makes things look microscopic. It’s easy to keep track of drivers this way, but the cars and tracks aren’t very detailed as a result. This is good for multiplayer romps, but when you’re on your own or playing on a portable screen, it’s rough to watch.
The extras are just meh as well. The menus are so troublesome to get out of in some cases, when all you want to do is, I don’t know, “just race”? At least the rewind feature is handy, able to make up for a quick error. That said, having to go back over mistake after mistake may have you asking if it’s worth the effort.
There are some nice touches – grinning faces on a track, fun little water effects – but little else that makes the game stand out.
A Classic Out of Time
What you get out of Moto Roader MC clearly depends on your circumstances. If you’ve got $7 burning a hole in your pocket and you loved the Turbo version, sure, go for it. If it’s a local multiplayer get-together you want with barely any frills, it’s serviceable.
That said, considering Ratalaika’s track record as of late, Moto Roader feels a slight step backwards. It’s not an intolerable game by any means. However, its slippery controls and lacking presentation definitely keep it from getting back on track.
VIBE Rating: 5/10
Looking for retro goodness done right? Check out our review of Grapple Dog!