Developer:PANKAKU
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod Touch

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Like so many things in the App Store (we’re looking at you, Gameloft), Light Bike 2 from Pankaku is a generic take on an obvious source. In this case, it’s TRON’s famous light cycle game. And it’s about as close a copy as one could get without having Disney lawyers sending a cease and desist order. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; but in the case of Light Bike 2, it’s not a great thing, either.

They’ve done a decent job of recreating the main idea. There’s four bikes instead of the original’s two, but it all works basically the same: you zoom along at high speed, cresting colored barriers and trying to crash your opponents before they crash you. Controls are bare bones: tap left or right to make a turn, and hit the Boost or Jump button to perform those actions. Your average round will take about 30 seconds; to complete a “first to three” session takes about five minutes.

The core game is fun, if a little prone to luck. The easiest victory is not to try and crash other bikes, but to drive carefully on the edges until the AI makes a mistake. This gets the win, but is not the funnest way to spend a session. Actively hunting opponents is more fun, but the game is too fast and the controls too basic to make this a viable option for consistent victory. The right dedicated player could probably master the skills, but for most of us, a high speed match or two will be enough to sate our TRONish appetites.

There are unlockable car bodies, tires, and wheels to earn, but these are incredibly hard to get. Achievements like “get 10 million mileage” and “100 network victores” assume that I’m going to be playing Light Bike 2 a lot, especially on the network. And as far as I can tell, they’re purely cosmetic upgrades.

Network play was a real issue for me. I never actually got to play. At first, I couldn’t even get onto the network server. Then Pankaku put out a quick version update, and now I can get on the network but not successfully sync a game. I tried it in more than one location to be sure it wasn’t my home WiFi that was the issue. It wasn’t.

The game does look good; they really did match the look and feel of TRON, right down to the 1980’s style computer fonts. But look alone isn’t enough to keep you coming back for more. With only two game boards, one basic vehicle to use, and a bevy of pie-in-the-sky achievements you’ll probably never come close to achieving, Light Bike 2 is ultimately a case of style over substance . Future updates could bring about a better experience, but it probably won’t stay on my device long enough to see them.

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