Draw Rider's a pretty unremarkable title when you take it at face value. The visuals are sparse to put it mildly, and the courses of the game are comprised of nothing more than black lines on a white background. Your task is to guide a physics-heavy and wobbly BMX rider over these landscapes from the start to the finish point. Simple stuff indeed on paper.
Of course, it's not just as easy as making your way from A to B. You have a handful of controls that allow you to brake, accelerate and rotate your rider left and right. Your first impressions will likely mirror those experienced when playing QWOP -style games for the first time, where the thrill of the experience comes from working against the physics of the game, rather than with them.
But the physics challenge of the game soon reveals itself in increasingly remarkable and imaginative ways too. The early levels are easy enough, requiring only a little delicate manipulation of the rider to steer him over gaps and sharply angular hills, but the game soon revels in throwing the most agonizing of challenges at you.
Crumpled scenery makes for a rocky course that threatens to upend your rider entirely, and these sections require dextrous use of the steering mechanisms to ensure he doesn't end up in a crumpled, game-ending heap. Sharp hills and deadly gaps also fill the game's many levels, and speed management is essential if you're to survive manageable jumps, while applying less brute-force to those that require a different strategy altogether.
Even better, you can create your own perilous adventures and share them online - there's a thriving community of players submitting their most devilish creations, and some of them give even the studio's levels a serious run for their money. Each of these user-created levels has a time-based leaderboard too, and a clever filtering system allows you to tackle only highly-rated challenges.
If there's a complaint to be made about Draw Rider, it's that the controls themselves are laid out very unintuitively for anyone who's played more than a handful of videogames. By default, acceleration and braking buttons are on the left, while steer controls are on the right - a mirror image of the hardware controller standard we're all used to. Fortunately, you can move the buttons around to wherever you want them to be via the game's settings, and you'll likely notice an immediate improvement in your performance if you do so.
There's no excuse not to at least dip into the free version of Draw Rider, assuming you have the patience to enjoy the agonizing sense of frustrating fun these games typically offer up. If this generous free taste of the game tickles your fancy, we don't think you'll hesitate to unlock the full game immediately.
What's Hot:Fantastically frustrating physics fun combined with endless replay value - as long as the community continues to support it.
What's Not:Even by the game's intended styling the visuals are crude, and the default control layout is unintuitive.