Barspin Studios is the developer behind BMX The Game. This is a BMX title that’s now in early access at a time when Tony Hawk is in the midst of its resurgence and skateboarding overall is having its moment. I have been hankering for a new BMX experience amidst all these new skateboarding games, which is why I have been playing BMX The Game early access on Steam.
Again, with Tony Hawk games finally being remembered again for being good, right now BMX The Game also has me thinking about the early 2000s titles such as Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX and Mat Hoffman’s Pro BMX. That being said, BMX The Game is trying to be a true BMX simulation and it does not compare to some of those more arcade-like titles from the past.
BMX The Game situates your rider in the heart of Barcelona. Throughout the environment, there are plenty of bowls, ramps, pipes, benches, and more to achieve different scores and gain rewards. With this game being in early access, I did anticipate there being a few bugs here and there as well (and there were). But my ultimate goal when playing early access titles is to determine the variety and depth available while still assessing its potential. With a BMX title, this can be especially tricky because physics are so important and there is not much to compare the game to in the genre. Still, gameplay will determine how realistic and fluid the BMX experience is here, so let’s get into this.
BMX The Game Early Access – Hands-On Impressions
Let me start by taking a look at the amount of depth BMX The Game includes. Outside of the included environments, I was very pleased with the level of depth the game has and the potential it has to grow. BMX The Game includes both a Park Editor and a Construction mode. Both modes are positive additions to the game.
As seen in other sports gaming titles, allowing folks to build out their own experience helps prevent a game from becoming stale. There is also a difference between the two modes. In Park Editor mode, players have the option to build out their own park from scratch. To do this, there is a variety of items players can add and combine to create their own creative design. Items include a variety of staircases, bars, half pipes, bowls and more.
On the flip side, in Construction mode players have the option to place any of the items into Barcelona. In essence, a player can continually change the city and create new obstacles or areas to jump, grind and trick out on. Between both of these modes, there is potential for developers to continually add to these modes with new items for improved customization and design.
Many sports titles have given a variety of personalization options to folks. Titles such as PGA Tour 2K21, WWE 2K and more have made these regular features. In BMX The Game this is no different. Personalization is included for both characters and equipment.
Barspin Studios went beyond surface-level personalization and allows character creation from the ground up. Head, neck, face, chest, elbows, wrist and so on are all available to customize. On top of that, character design also includes a selection of numerous items from a variety of T-shirts, hats, shorts and shoes — all with options to change to the color and brand of your choice.
If there were anything that could be improved in character customization, it would be bulking up the selection as there is a lack of brands that are available. Adding to this in future updates would take this area to the next level.
Just as there is the depth with the character personalization, BMX The Game also has an ample amount of depth in bike customization. As you progress and earn in the game, players can buy and customize nearly every inch of the bike. Barspin Studios has given personalization to the player with customization in categories such as handlebars, grips, frames, pedals, rims, spokes and more.
As stated with the characters, with more brands or decals that could be added to your bike, it would increase the level of personalization that would really make your bike pop on the streets of Barcelona.
In early access, the game shines with amazing customization and a variety of options. The lighting and reflections of the bike are smooth between glossy and matte items. The graphics are above average. However, the controls and feel of the bike are a bit rough right out of the gate. Due to this being early access, I believe these will be hashed out and improved upon in the months ahead.
The game does feel a bit wonky to begin with, almost like a lag or delay between movements. When attempting to grab air and perform a trick, it feels as if the game slows down in the air. This may be to provide the player time to perform tricks. But, it does make the physics feel quite choppy.
Outside of this, there are so many areas where the game is already a positive. There is weight to the bikes, and gaining speed on the bike takes enough pedaling to build up just as in real BMX. The same goes for rolling over a downhill and slowly building up speed. There is a significant learning curve in learning how to maneuver the bike and put a combination of tricks together. This game is the opposite of the arcade-style feel from previous BMX or skating titles released on previous platforms.
Lastly, riding the bike and the massive size of Barcelona is fantastic. The map is huge with a variety of locations to ride and trick on throughout the city.
BMX The Game is aiming to be a simulation experience. Barspin Studios has created just that here. The difficulty in performing tricks is significant. I would expect BMX The Game to continue to chase the “sim” market, which probably means it won’t bust out like the Tony Hawk games of old by being easy to jump into. Either way, early access for this game has proven there is enough meat on the bones.
The time and effort Barspin Studios has put into customization, from the character to clothing, combined with the immense amount of customization to the bike itself is impressive. Through improvements and consistent updates to the game, I see immense potential for this title to grow.