Thursday, July 7, 2016

Super Night Riders Review (XONE)

Super Night Riders is an oldschool-style arcade motorcycle racer where your objective is simply to reach the next checkpoint before time runs out.  It is pretty simple overall, and it doesn’t look like much as far as the visuals go, but the gameplay is surprisingly addictive and fun.  We like it.  See our full review of Super Night Riders below.

Game Details

  • Publisher: neko works
  • Developer: neko works
  • ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone
  • Genre: Racing
  • Pros: Fun oldschool gameplay; solid music; decent amount of courses
  • Cons: Pretty simplistic; kinda ugly; phony artwork tricks you
  • MSRP: $10
Super Night Riders page at

Super Night Riders is a throwback in a couple of ways.  The first and most obvious one is the gameplay style.  It reminds me of the arcade racing games with the full motorcycle chassis you could sit on and had to lean left and right to play.  The checkpoint-style gameplay is pure oldschool quarter munching goodness.  The other way it is a throwback is to the Xbox Indie Games on Xbox 360 where developers would regularly use artwork that didn’t have anything to do with the game itself (usually an attractive woman) in order to catch people’s attention.  Super Night Riders does exactly that by featuring a pretty blonde anime girl that you only ever see on the splash screen and nowhere else.  Come on, man!  She’s what sold me on the game in the first place!

I have to admit that Super Night Riders makes a pretty poor first impression in screenshots because it just looks bland and ugly.  It was obviously going for a similar visual and gameplay style to SEGA’s Hang On and Outrun arcade series, but unlike those games that had colorful visuals and backgraound detail, Super Night Riders is just bland and boring looking. 

Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised when I actually started playing the game.  The concept is simple – make it through the next checkpoint before time runs out – but it is surprisingly fun.  There are other riders on the road, and avoiding them while maintaining maximum speed by keeping your bike on the road provides a good challenge.  The time limits are extremely tight so you have to be almost perfect in order to finish a course.  This can be somewhat frustrating because it can be difficult, but the races only take a couple of minutes each, so restarting and doing them over and over again until you get it right isn’t that big of a problem.  The controls are very responsive and the hit boxes on the other riders are fairly accurate, so with some memorization of the courses and good twitch reflexes, getting through each course doesn’t prove too difficult.

There are six courses with six stages each, and you have to unlock each course by beating the one before it first.  There are also endurance races that have you run through every stage back to back to back as well.  All in all it will only take a couple of hours or so to see everything, at which point there isn’t much to keep you around once you earn all of the achievements.  For $10, though, I’m actually okay with that.  It is fun and satisfying while it lasts, but doesn’t overstay its welcome.  It is probably a lot cheaper than actually playing a similar game like this in a real arcade.

The presentation is pretty simplistic with some awful looking menus and the gameplay graphics really fail to impress.  I do like how the lighting and overall theme changes from one stage to the next, but the visuals are very, very simple.  The engine sound effects are pretty poor, but the selection of music is actually quite good. 

All in all, Super Night Riders was a pleasant surprise.  I went in expecting it to be bad based on how ugly it looks in screenshots, but the actual gameplay is pretty fun.  The oldschool arcade-style gameplay just struck a chord with me and I have to say I had a good time overall.  It isn’t a great or memorable game by any means, but it is decent fun for $10 if you’re looking for a classic arcade-style racer.  Check it out.