Cyclomaniacs Epic combines bike stunts, racing, and objective-driven missions into a single cohesive game with stylized graphics, humorous content, easy to learn controls, and surprisingly deep game mechanics. The physics is a little whacked -but it adds plenty of good fun to the game. If you are not looking for something too serious but still want to have some degree of longevity, the game's quick-to-launch system merges well with the long-term upgrade mechanics. Player progress is saved and each run provides you with in-game rewards that will help you get better stats.
How it Plays
Cyclomaniacs Epic is played in a race-based presentation. The basic goal is to get the top spot in each race in order to get the highest race awards -that is basically credits. Credits are used to upgrade stats which will allow you to compete and win in the harder races.
Aside from getting the ahead of all your opponents in the race, players are also given several objectives in each race -these objectives vary depending on the stage selected. Fulfilling these objective earns players additional credits and it also unlocks additional content such as new racers or new bikes to choose from. While you do not have to get the number 1 spot for fulfilling the side missions, you must still maintain a position ahead of the lowest ranked opponent (also, note that some side missions require to finish above a certain spot). For multiple objectives, players do not need to fulfill all of them in a single run -they can be accomplished one at a time (this adds to the game's overall replay value).
There are also a few special missions that are not races -instead they will require the player to accomplish certain tasks -outspeeding an environmental element, hitting certain targets, running over or destroying specific items and more. These missions add a level of variety of the game that helps break the monotony of constantly racing.
Spin It, Work It, Land It
One of the most important gameplay elements of Cyclomaniacs Epic is the stunt system. During races, players can perform stunts -these stunts add bonuses to your overall score (increasing your rewards), and more importantly, add to your boost meter. Boost meter is like a constant passive nitro boost that help you speed up against your competitors (and it is very helpful in uphill portions of a race).
Performing makes use of two different approaches. The first is spinning, this is done by pitching the bike's nose up or down. On the ground, this turns into a wheelie. If done in the air, the entire bike can be spun around for 360 degrees or more. The second way to perform a stunt is to press one of the several stunt buttons while airborne. These shortcut-stunts range from the simple to the complex, from handlebar spins to superman poses. The more daring of players will want to combine spinning and shortcut stunts together for larger combos.
The trick is to get plenty of air time in order to land properly. No matter how impressive your stunts are, if you crash to the ground, all the bonuses are nulled. This means being able to gather enough speed for jumps, gaining altitude for air time, and knowing when to start leveling your bike before it hits the ground. Naturally, the best way to get huge stunt combos is to attempt doing them in a stage that your are already familiar with (and of course, do them only for large jumps).
The graphics for Cyclomaniacs Epic are nothing outstanding in terms of modern flash games and pretty much follow it's predecessor Cyclomaniacs 2, but at least it lives up to a good standard. The characters and animations are well done, the stages are cleverly designed, and there are a lot of interestingly funny content to discover when you play the game. Best of all, the player interface is easy to navigate. There's no risk of accidentally upgrading a wrong stat and being able to jump straight to a race is done in a couple of mouse clicks.
Look Ma, No Hands
It is easy to pass up on Cyclomaniacs Epic if you are not a bike enthusiast, after all, the title alone feels pretty niche and there are plenty of other fun online racing games to play. As a game, however, this is a great example of a well done game that manages to be fun not only for its very specific target audience but also for gamers ina general (and that's a big deal when it comes to creating good gameplay). Sure, it does have its' drawbacks, such as the occasionally jerky animation and simplistic art style. But these are little negligible things compared to the fun that the game delivers.