When it comes to mobile sports gaming, SBK16 is a bright spot among a lot of pretty lame and average sports titles.
SBK16 is a free-to-play game representing the 2016 Motul FIM Superbike World Championship. SBK16 features bikes from Aprilia, Kawasaki, Honda, Ducati, MV Augusta, BMW and Yamaha. On top of that, there are real SBK riders along with several real race tracks with which to race on.
In short, there’s a lot of attempts at authenticity within the game, and the attention to detail does show.
Racing around the track can be done with a variety of control schemes, but the most basic is touching the screen to accelerate, and brake and tilting your device in order to steer.
This type of control scheme is a love it or hate it kind of thing, where many will find that controlling such a fast-paced game by tilting a control or trying to use an on-screen joystick to be rather difficult versus a more traditional racing wheel or controller.
Regardless, within the genre it is operating, SBK16 controls about as tightly and responsively as you’d expect, and then some.
It does take a couple of races to get used to what you need to do in terms of how far to tilt -- and there's the usual racing physics quirks every game will have on some level -- but when you get a feel for the controls, you’ll find yourself really zooming around tracks.
The AI isn’t exceptional but it’s more than functional. You’ll get a challenge on the higher difficulty levels because your opponents will zoom around the tracks a lot faster than the lower ones. I do think the AI is a bit too linear or static in some ways, but I don’t think you would expect the AI to be besting console efforts on mobile devices either.
My chief complaint would be that the crash physics are so unpredictable. Hitting another driving while going really fast is typically a bad idea, but I’ve sometimes done this with no punishment from the system at all.
The cockpit view is pretty cool, but I will admit it is a bit difficult to manage getting around the tracks on such a small screen while in this view. In fact, having to tilt the screen a lot on the harder courses does result in a bit of a loss of control.
You can use an external controller to control the action as well -- instantly the experience gets much better -- so if you own a MFi controller you’ll find that many of the gameplay quirks quickly disappear.
Other Odds And Ends
The game itself features several different ways to play. There are five game modes, including a Quick Race, Challenge, Time Attack, Test Ride and Championship mode.
The modes sound exactly like what they end up being. Time attack is a time trial, the challenge mode levies you with different challenges to meet on different courses, quick races are the get in and go races, test ride is a series of challenges to test your skills, and championship is an attempt to simulate a full FIM Superbike Season.
There’s plenty to do in SBK16, and for such a low price (free), you’ll find yourself quite pleased with the options provided.
There is a $2.99 premium gaming experience to be had that removes all advertisements, adds additional challenges and allows you to back up and sync your saved game files across multiple devices.
SBK16 is the type of game you probably hoped for on mobile platforms. It offers a good gameplay experience, plenty of options, and good visuals that match what we had a little over a console generation or so ago.
There are some quirks, the AI does feel a bit static sometimes, and the controls won’t be for everyone (sans those who have a MFi controller) — but SBK16 offers a pleasingly authentic and well crafted experience for Superbike fans to enjoy.
Score: 7.5 (Good)