An attempt to offer a little golden oldies throwback challenge feels more like an exercise in frustration the longer you play.

Moto Joe 2.0 Review: Flappy Bird Meets a Motorcycle

An attempt to offer a little golden oldies throwback challenge feels more like an exercise in frustration the longer you play.

There can be entertainment value in frustration. It doesn’t even have to be someone else’s. 

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As a gamer, there is a certain ethos to sticking with something and laying in the man-hours for what would appear, to outside eyes, as very little real achievement. 

Moto Joe 2.0 has the feel of appealing to that ethos. 

With a throwback retro design and an upbeat chiptune track, the latest revamp of Moto Joe by Harsh Rajat hearkens back to the golden age of video games in the 1980s (e.g. Pac-Man, Snake, Tetris) – where the premise is basic, and the ultimate conclusion is that you are probably going to lose.

Of course, the operative word in these cases is probably. It’s general knowledge at this point that the aforementioned classics can and have been beaten – and at any rate, your average game time is likely to be in minutes versus a handful of seconds.

Moto Joe 2.0 is a 2-D platformer – a guy on a bike doing tricks for points. The interface is A-B-C easy: tap the screen once to start the game, tap the screen to make him jump, and do your best not to hit things. 

And he’ll be jumping… a lot!

As the motorcycle moves along automatically, players must time their jumps to maneuver on and off platforms and collect gold coins a la classic Sonic the Hedgehog. The obstacles are many – spike traps, fire pits, platform edges – and they come fast. There’s no pause button, so you ride until you die. It is at once a difficult game and a relentless one. 

Interestingly enough, this latest iteration is also an easier one – and offers a number of improvements to the original game. From the developers:

“We have improved the gameplay by making the stunts accurate and have tweaked the gaps to make it a bit more forgiving. We have also added a ton of content which includes really hot bikes and cool power-ups.”


(Incidentally, this is more of the catchy background music than you’ll get out of your typical ~5-9 point run.)

Even with these adjustments though, your typical high scores will usually be in the double digits on particularly good runs and your best game times will probably be around a minute long. (At this point, your eyes may glaze over from the amount of intense staring you need to do to do well in this game.)

Odd as it may sound, much of this one-tap game’s difficulty stems from its controls. There is an almost imperceptible amount of analog control dependent on how long you hold down a tap to adjust for how large a jump your motorcycle-riding character can do. This, combined with the unforgiving collision detection, means that you will often find yourself making a jump that is just a split-second too long, too short, and either your front or back wheel ends up a little too near an obstacle (it doesn’t actually need to hit it) ending a perfectly good run. 

On the plus side, this game runs smoothly and I experienced absolutely no crashes or drops in quality. 

Moto Joe is free to play on both Android and iOS – completely free and supported by ads. Since the majority of your games (particularly in the beginning) will be over within a few seconds, you’ll see ads between every 2-3 games – some of which will last longer than your games. 

You’ll see ads between every 2-3 games – some of which will last longer than your games. 

The collectible in-game coins can be used to get rid of these ads completely once you hit 50,000 – if you keep playing long enough. New uses for these coins include a number of shields and swanky new bikes (cosmetic only) to roll around with. Since in a good run you can probably net around 20-30 coins, this process may take a while.

Of course, you can only purchase a shield once at the beginning of your run so it really only gives you one extra try to extend your score so this may not necessarily be worth getting if you’re interested in slightly more tangible rewards.

(The Batpod can be yours for 8,000 coins, the most Bruce Wayne-mobile of them all.) 

It’s Basically Flappy Bird on Wheels

While app store reviews are through the roof for this title, I have trouble finding much entertainment to piece out the frustration. There is nothing to work harder towards because getting a higher score always feels like a fluke, and the coin rewards are minor or take so long to achieve the challenge gets worn out partway through the attempt. The scoreboards are also attached to your Google Play account, so it only appears to rank you against other people in your circles (in my case, myself). 

Ultimately, unless you’re in the market for another Flappy Bird, there is little here that sets it apart from other 2D platformers of its type to keep you going for long. 

You can check it out on either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store

5
Moto Joe 2.0 Review: Flappy Bird Meets a Motorcycle
An attempt to offer a little golden oldies throwback challenge feels more like an exercise in frustration the longer you play.

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Author
Stephanie Tang
Avid PC gamer, long-time console lover. I enjoy shooting things in the face and am dangerously addicted to pretty. I'm also a cat.