I've been a supporter of the Nintendo Wii since its launch. I've stuck by the console since 2006, when everyone I knew was either bitching about the graphics or erroneously stating that it was just for kids, despite the presence of games such as No More Heroes, Little King's Story, MadWorld, and other titles that older gamers could easily find enjoyment in. Lately, however, there hasn't been much to boast about on the Wii, and I've found that the only reason to hook up my console is to play Super Smash Bros. Brawl with my buddies. That was until I played MotoHeroz.
Developed by RedLynx, the awesome team that brought us Trials HD, MotoHeroz is a side-scrolling racer that's heavy on the physics and bright with rich color. It's also got some platforming gameplay peppered throughout for good measure. In all honesty, I feel that inventive games like MotoHeroz are a perfect fit for the Wii, and it's a shame that we don't see too many quality titles landing on WiiWare more often.
MotoHeroz features a single-player campaign that has you playing as Gene McQuick, a mild-mannered racer who wants nothing more than to be number one. The adventure mode is basically a series of racing events. The majority of these will have you racing against a ghost, which essentially means you're taking on the clock. Failure to reach the goal in the allotted time limit means it's back to the start for you. Normally, I would think racing against a ghost is kind of boring, but because MotoHeroz offers such insane and rewarding track design, this is most certainly not the case. Racing against ghosts is fun because it's increasingly challenging, and it teaches you the fundamentals of the game.
Every once in a while, you'll compete in races against rival characters. Most of these are one-on-one competitions, but a few pit you against up to three opponents. There are also some special challenges that require you to carry a character or item to the goal. Due to the physics-based nature of MotoHeroz, this is a lot tougher than it sounds. It will undoubtedly take you multiple tries to reach the goal without dropping whatever person or item you may be carrying atop your vehicle, and mastering control of your motorcar while traversing the game's crazy terrain offers an impressive challenge. In addition to this, there are underwater levels, flight levels, and more, each with their own quirks and mechanics.
Scattered throughout each track are coins that can be collected and used to purchase additional vehicles for the game's extra modes. There are also collectible ancestor spirits hidden within the levels that unlock even more vehicles for your driving pleasure. It's this addition of bonus items that really makes MotoHeroz feel like a platformer. You literally have to platform your way through the levels to collect everything in the game. Surprisingly enough, this aspect of the game blends in perfectly with the physics-based mechanics.
Part of what makes the single player mode in MotoHeroz so great is its increasing level of challenge and constant emphasis on practice. Chances are you'll encounter failure numerous times throughout your wheel-based quest, and you may even grow a bit frustrated at times. Even then, it's a fair challenge that rewards you with success for being tenacious and mastering not only the game's levels, but its physics and controls, as well. As you race through the game's side-scrolling race tracks, you must maneuver around jumps, pick up speed to tackle loops, and adjust your vehicle in midair to land smoothly on the ground. Everything is a lot more challenging than it sounds, and it all requires you to get the hang of every element of MotoHeroz.
I had a ton of fun playing through the single-player component in MotoHeroz. It was so much fun that if the developers had decided to keep the game strictly a solo affair and added about two or three times the content, I would have been just as satisfied. That wasn't the case, though. Instead, RedLynx threw in a local multiplayer mode for up to four players. Playing against a group of friends is a lot of fun and a total riot. MotoHeroz is the type of multiplayer game that you bust out when you just want to have some awesome fun and a few good laughs with your friends, all the while yelling at each other to get out of the way. It's good, clean, competitive fun, and again, it follows that design model that's perfect for a console like the Wii.
Unfortunately, there's no online multiplayer, and that's a bit of a bummer. Given how much fun the game is when played with others, a competitive online component would have been a stellar inclusion. That said, there is some notable online content that should keep gamers busy. New challenges are posted daily, and online leaderboards keep things interesting. A few of these challenges allow you to retry as many times as you'd like, so the competitive spirit is definitely high. There are also a number of "one shot" challenges that only allow you a single try. So if you screw up, there's no turning back. Thankfully, you're allowed to practice on these stages to your heart's content.
Visually, MotoHeroz is a beautiful, little WiiWare game. The levels boast smooth textures and bright colors, and they absolutely drip with unbridled charm. It's strange to think of all the crappy-looking Wii games that get released on discs, only to witness a download like MotoHeroz provide such impressive art design. The sound department is no slouch, either. You're likely to get a lot of the game's music stuck in your head, and this is due to the quirky nature of each theme. Personally, I wouldn't mind if RedLynx developed a straight-up platformer that uses the same graphics and songs from MotoHeroz.
To put it simply, MotoHeroz is an awesome WiiWare game, and arguably the best title to come to the download platform in a long time. This is the type of game that anyone with a Wii should support because it's awesome and loads of fun, alone or with others. The lack of online multiplayer justifies a minor gripe, and at just about five hours, a slightly longer single-player mode would have been greatly appreciated. Even with those miniscule complaints, I find it hard to find much fault in this stellar title. MotoHeroz will run you a total of 1,500 Wii Points ($15), but given its incredible gameplay and solid multiplayer thrills, that price is well worth it. Seriously, dust off your Wii, and buy MotoHeroz this very instant.