Developer: Rage Squid
Platform: Xbox One (Available on Game Pass)
I’ve been mountain biking once… I fell off once and it hurt… so if you don’t like pain and want to experience the rush Descenders might just be for you!
Descenders, developed by Rage Squid, is an extreme downhill biking game that uses procedurally generated maps and roguelite elements to create an interesting experience.
The procedurally generated maps have not had much of an impact for me, but the roguelite elements had me interested. There are a few different modes to select from, which give you the opportunity to play with friends or a free ride mode, but the main mode is Career Session. This is a journey through 4 different areas, collecting ‘teammates’ which provide different buffs, such as increasing your jumping power or lowering the number of curves on each track. You have lives and you lose them when you whip out, each map also provides a random challenge allowing you to gain an extra life if you complete it.
The challenges made the game interesting for me, instead of just trying to do some cool tricks or finishing the track, it gave the game a new objective. Objectives such as ‘Do not let go of the acceleration button’ or ‘Do not break’ were the difficult ones, the game gets fast and controlling a bike travelling at high speeds, down a mountain, can be understandably difficult.
The map is interesting and holds many different races or skill tracks that you can do on your way to the boss map. There are also different types of challenges throughout the map such as;
- Helm cam maps, where the game is first-person.
- Health camps, where you gain health for completing.
- Fire tracks, where the game is much harder, but you earn more Rep.
- Team nodes. These are where you can beat challenges for three different sponsors to get sponsored.
Getting sponsored allows new challenges in areas that you excel, for example, the three sponsors focus on; going off road, doing skills and going downhill fast. I chose to go off road because it is enjoyable and gets dangerous quickly. Sponsors also allow you to earn vanity items in that sponsor’s name. The game does not want you spending too much time completing the entire map because there is a night, which makes the game so much more difficult.
If you make it to the end of an area you are rewarded with a Boss Track, no you don’t fight a boss… which would be weird… you tackle a boss jump. The first one you hit is a jump over a train, which looks amazing and feels even better when you land it.
Once you have run out of lives your run is over, you gain your Reputation and get some unlockables. But that’s where the game lacks a little for me, the cosmetic items are cool, I unlocked a sparkly t-shirt early and it made other unlockables pointless… because they didn’t sparkle. On a serious level, you unlock cosmetic items randomly at the end of runs and it felt a little slow. I didn’t feel rewarded much and it slowed the game down for me. I feel there is room for a shop, in which you can spend your Rep points for items and maybe different bikes that provide different stats.
The game in itself is enjoyable and the music combined with the speed and danger provides an exhilarating experience, I would recommend Descenders to anyone who is interested in mountain biking. If bikes are not your thing, the game is still a good time killer and offers some challenge if you enjoy that.
For me, it’s a 7/10.
Thanks for reading, have you played Descenders? What did you think? I’d love to hear!