I couldn’t tell you how many motocross games are available in the Apple App store. Heck, I bet Apple couldn’t tell you either, but it’s probably safe to say that most of them are not worth downloading…even if they’re free. There are plenty of other uses for a couple of megabytes, such as an Instagram photo of a half eaten plate of Pad Thai, for example.

However, every so often a game will come along that looks like it took longer to develop than…well, let’s say longer than it would take to eat half a plate of Pad Thai. After all, even though the majority of the apps we tend to download are either 99 cents or free, we still have standards and expect a quality, refined program no matter how it was acquired. Wait, you don’t have standards? Um…do you want this half eaten plate of Pad Thai then? I’m not going to finish it because I found a few hairs in there. Eat up! For the rest of us who do have standards, if you’re looking for a well thought out MX game to liven up your airplane journeys and bathroom breaks, Fearless Wheels (available for the iPhone and iPad) might be up your alley.

This 99-cent app was conceptualized by Olympic BMX rider, Arturs Matisons of Latvia. As he states on www.fearlesswheels.com, “Since I was a kid, I wanted to ride dirt bikes. But my BMX contract didn't allow me to. So one day I thought, if I can't ride a motocross bike, I should make a game about it.” Makes sense to me. Who doesn’t want to ride dirt bikes…they’re awesome.

As you might be able to tell from the graphics, which are some of the best I’ve seen for a mobile motocross game, the gameplay in Fearless Wheels is fairly arcade-like. While the sound is really good, with realistic 250 four-stroke-type motor noises and some great music and sound effects, the gameplay leans toward the unrealistic in terms of physics.

This is not to say it isn’t fun. At first I was not a fan of the multiple types of danger zones and boosts, but once you get accustomed to them, they become another element on the track and are definitely not nearly as gimmicky as, say, a pair of rocket boots. This is not a game where all you do is pin it and you’ll win. There is definitely some skill and timing involved, and with five other opponents on the line, the pressure is on.

As you progress through the levels, you can earn points in various ways (backflips, wins, etc.) and buy upgrades for your bike that will improve your times. The more points you earn, the better the upgrade.

One unique aspect is in the level advancement of the game. There are several different series that you progress through, starting with the Local championship and moving all the way up to International racing. Each series has nine rounds and the tracks become bigger and more technical with each advancement.

Complementing the game structure are the most polished graphics I have seen in a mobile MX game. Great track and background designs, poppy colors, and awesome characters ranging from your standard racer dude to a crazy rooster and even an invisible man.

Just like with any motocross game, you always want more tracks, and it would be great to have a track builder as well. Other games have introduced tournament or P2P play, and I think Fearless Wheels would be an excellent outlet for that type of racing, but considering that the game has been out for barely more than a month, I’m sure Matisons and his crew have plenty of other things in the works.

Overall, what’s not to like? An Excitebike-esque MX game with refined graphics, smooth gameplay, and an awards ceremony when you get on the podium…all good things when your stuck with a flight delay while connecting through good ol’ DFW and waiting on an inevitably disappointing plate of Pad Thai from Ling & Louie’s.

For more information, visit www.fearlesswheels.com.

-Bayo Olukotun

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