Originally released on the Turbo Grafx-16 about 30 years ago, Moto Roader made a name for itself by its fast-paced, arcade action for up to 5 local players. Like Greylancer, Gynoug, and some Cotton games, Ratalaika Games has ported this top-down racer with the same quality of life features and overall menu interface. It is wonderful to see a forgotten but quality retro title receive new life on modern consoles.
Moto Roader is basically Super Sprint but with Mario Kart-like weaponry. The goal is to be reach the finish line of each twisting and winding single-screened track before your opponents. Part of what makes this game chaotic and fun is the unlimited supply of weapons, missiles shoot forward and pipe bombs get dropped behind, that feels oh so satisfying when you nail that driver during a tight turn. There is a cool down timer so weapons cannot be constantly be used but they can still be fired with a good pace. The top-down control works well but players have the option to adjust to manual form of steering if desired. It a simple game that is easy approachable and always fun.
Even though each track is limited to a single screen, each one has been designed with care and variety. Some might have a bunch of tight turns, some might have ice patches, one even features an angry monkey. There are 25 tracks in all and simply starting a race on each track, even if it is from the Time Trial mode, earns the player an Achievement. It is possible to earn all 1,000 gamerscore in just a matter of seconds so Achievement hunters should take note.
If you watch my stream embedded here, you will note the welcomed quality of life features including screen aspect ratio adjustments, tons of visual filter options, a rewind feature, all buttons can be remapped to your liking, and save states are easily accessible. There is no option to create your track from a track editor but the player can customize a course selection composed of any five tracks. My only complaint, although minor, is that you cannot just hit the pause button to pull up a menu and back out if you wanted to select something new. Instead, the player needs to press the Select button and restart again from the main menu. Since this initial loading screen only takes a couple seconds, it isn’t the end of the world, just a forgivable annoyance.
Perhaps the craziest feature is the included Omake mode. What is Omake? It is Rocket League 30 years before Rocket League. Yes, this is top-down 2D sprite-based soccer with cars that can be played 1-v-1 or 2-v-2. So yeah, Rocket League actually stole their entire game from Moto Roader.
Moto Roader is a quality party game thanks to its pick-up-and-play easy-going gameplay, short burst fun, and quality multiplayer offering. Ratalaika Games deserves our praise and appreciation for re-releasing this neglected fan-favorite title on current gen consoles. If you missed its original release or simply wasn’t born yet, do yourself a favor and pick this up to experience how simple, yet fun, a top-down racer can be.
Also available on PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC.
Don’t Forget About: the Wii and Wii U Virtual Console release of Moto Roader
Also Try: original TG-16 version with five players huddled around the TurboTap
Wait For It: and Off-Road port or sequel
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
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