May 30, 2014
Sidekick Cycle is a fun simple game that adds idealism to the mix.
As far as the gameplay goes, it’s quite easy to pick up, and that is a testament to the game’s design ethic; the game is all about riding a bike, somewhat downhill, and making the time split. In addition to making time, there are gold coins that line the travel way that can be collected by contact. There are also obstacles (like boulders) that need to be avoided by jumping over them, and also some special gear pieces that also can be collected.
The controls are about as easy as it gets: tap to jump. Timing is of a premium, as jumping to early can cause collisions and even mess up the equilibrium of the bike, which, in turn, can cause a run-ending crash.
There are several worlds, which are different run environments, and each provides a unique feel. Success in one opens up the next, and the same applies to the individual runs that make up each environment; they are locked till a preceding one is successfully completed. As the game proceeds, other elements are added… things like bonus-laden sidekicks and such. There are plenty of upgrades that can be purchased with accumulated gold, and real cash can be used to supplement this.
The graphics do a good job of conveying the gameplay; the worlds are differentiated through layout, and there is a lot of attention paid to the little stuff like perspective and light play. The animations are a bit stilted, but they work, and even the tumbles have a good degree of realism to them, with the physics and such.; the 2D renderings are simple but effective. I think the characters kid be a bit more polished, though.
One thing that sets the game apart is the social initiatives of the developer, who is/are committed to providing bicycles to people in communities that otherwise cannot afford them when an in-app purchase is made. Such altruism is laudable and is worth mentioning.
All in all, it’s fun game with scaled difficulty that can be tough to put down. And it supports a cause; we can play and feel good doing so.