20th May2020

‘Gravity Rider Zero’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

The original Trials HD was something of a behemoth in gaming history, managing to capture the imagination of gamers everywhere. Since the release of that game there have been a myriad of sequels and a metric sh*t-ton of imitators – some good, some bad. Some REALLY bad. Where does Gravity Rider Zero sit? Read on to find out…

What makes the Trials games (and some of their imitators) so great are the physics and the ability to grab huge air, perform back flips, front flips and more – pretty much everything that is NOT presents in Gravity Rider Zero; but then what would you expect from yet another mobile game port on the Nintendo Switch. Yes we’re in mobile game territory once again with Gravity Rider Zero and this time it truly looks and feels like it – the controls, besides holding down accelerate and occasionally brake/reverse, are non-existent; the ability to do anything near to what you can do in the Trials games (back flips, front flips etc) is non-existent; the “it factor” the Trials games had is here non-existent. In fact it’s all a little… disappointing. Hell, what makes these types of ragdoll racers so great is that despite any frustrations with the game, you typically keep coming back to try and beat each and every level. With Gravity Rider Zero that – unfortunately – was not the case. Instead, getting through this game for this review was a chore.

But lets get onto the good stuff before ripping into the game completely. Oh wait. There isn’t much “good stuff” to talk about either! Graphically Gravity Rider Zero is a stripped-back as you can get – complete with bare bones graphics that are seemingly an homage to the likes of Tron and its sequel (after all this is billed as a sci-fi racer) but instead look like an early mobile game, where texture mapping and deeply designed graphics weren’t possible due to the limitations of mobile processors. It’s 2020 people. We can play games that look almost AAA style on mobile now!

In terms of gameplay, Gravity Rider Zero feels somewhat tedious. I spent most of my time finger on ZR bombing round each track, with no EASY way to perform the tricks and flips I was used to from similar style games. Yes the racing is, for the most part, fun but the experience was still lacking. Now I say “for the most part” because – at times – this game likes to throw ridiculous stumbling blocks in your way that will either a) hinder your progress, or b) make you want to throw your Switch out the window! What am I talking about? Literal OBSTACLES in your way…

The very idea of including obstacle you have to move with your bike, or spend 5 minutes figuring out how to get over, on these high-speed courses is, frankly, ridiculous AND game-breaking. You can upgrade your vehicle or switch to a different one of course but then still, whilst selecting a quad bike may help you get over the rocks in your way quicker it doesn’t mean you can ACTUALLY JUMP OVER THAT HUGE SPIKE-FILLED RAVINE(!) as the quad bikes speed is too slow. Yes, yet another example of how the developers bizarre choices almost break this game. And speaking of bizarre choices, why the hell does it sound like the track is crumbling underneath you as you rider around? It’s not. Maybe if it did, and this was more of a dangerous time trial, gamers might get a little more thrill out of playing!

Honestly, I tried to find something good to say about Gravity Rider Zero, I really did. But when the best thing you can say is how much playing this game made me appreciate the less-than-stellar Trials knock-off Urban Trial Playground, a title I’ve now been spending a LOT more time with thanks to Gravity Rider Zero… then there’s seriously something wrong with your game.

Gravity Rider Zero is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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