A timeless staple of any hipster’s repertoire, fixed gear bikes meet the world of video games with the release of Sokpop Collective’s street racer skidlocked. These bikes might lack gears, but do they manage to make city riding fun?
In a city filled with traffic, sidewalk clutter, and drab skyscrapers, your fixed gear bike is your one true friend. This two wheeled wonder’s got some power to it – simply holding down the left mouse button whisks players along, and taking to the streets gives players an added boost of speed. The right button serves as the brakes, while hitting both at the same time lets players skid along.
This control scheme is simple at its core, almost to a fault. There is not much finesse that goes into its dealings – players will have to rely on reflexes rather than memorization or intricate mechanics to get ahead. Nevertheless, the one-handed control scheme is simple yet effective.
It’s just a shame that its environment is rage-inducing in its design. Multi-lane roads are packed with cars, and the only way to get through is oftentimes to lane split. This isn’t a problem in and of itself, but when there are cars that are turning in traffic, the act of traveling a few city blocks quickly becomes an impossible endeavor. Those who wish to take the sidewalk will not fare much better, as barriers, cones, fire hydrants, and other hazards will cause players to wipe out. As a result, it can often feel like there is no way to get ahead with the hand skidlocked provides.
Unfortunately, these threats are exacerbated when taking on one of its six different races. Much like SEGA’s Crazy Taxi, players will have to ride to select spots on the map in a set period of time. However, unlike that arcade classic, there are no arrows to help you along the way. Rather, your minimap is your greatest ally, with players relying on that more than the action itself to get ahead. It feels kind of backwards, and some additional features could have made this a far smoother process.
It’s just unfortunate that these races tend to drag on a bit. When the city uses a rigid structure with no landmarks or even curves, it can be easy to get lost in its surroundings. Going to each point on the map feels like busywork, and the amount of time provided is just barely enough to accomplish each one. A quick press of the “R” key will allow players to restart the race at any given time, but more time would have been greatly appreciated.
Those that complete the initial six races will be able to unlock a gold bike and randomized races. There are also a handful of Steam achievements, but we were able to finish the initial round of races in around an hour.
The fixie action of skidlocked seems solid on paper, but the drab city, relentless traffic, and lack of polish hurt it in the long run.