You can’t fault the hustle of Descenders developer RageSquid and publisher No More Robots.
The procedural downhill mountain biking game has been one of the most frequently-updated and best-maintained video games of the past couple of years. The game was built and improved upon during early access, and then they just carried on in the same vein.
And yes, these updates have all been free. You lot don’t deserve RageSquid. They are good eggs.
That’s not to say we were entirely enamoured with Descenders when we reviewed it in early access. (And yes, there are arguments for and against reviewing games while they’re still in development. Our argument is that if you can pay money for a game it’s “out” and we might, therefore, want to critique it. It’s kind of our job.)
Mechanically and visually, Descenders is great. It’s an absolute rush to play and those end-of-section “bosses” are ridiculous. But the roguelite nature rubbed us up the wrong way and we often felt irritated by the limited lives and progress gated behind procedural generation. (Also, we hated the music. Sorry. We know that’s very subjective, but still.)
Then, just as we were about to hit publish, RageSquid pushed an update to Descenders that included a freeride mode. That helped our impression a bit, but do you know what we really wanted? To play hand-crafted tracks rather than procedurally-generated ones, and get really good at them. Procedural generation is cool and all – and we can see the benefit in replay value – but to our mind, there’s no substitute for the hand of the creator.
Basically, we wanted the gameplay of Descenders with fixed levels. Tony Hawk’s Pro Mountainbiker, if you will. Then RageSquid pushed another update to Descenders in October 2019 that included a modding toolset, and all bets were off.
It would appear we’re not the only ones who appreciated the addition of the ability to create hand-crafted tracks in Descenders. The feature has proved so popular that the latest update – which is available today on Steam – adds a selection of hand-crafted bike parks to the game.
“It became clear that players loved the crafted bike parks that modders were creating,” says Mike Rose, director of No More Robots.
“For this reason, we’ll now be bringing brand new, hand-crafted bike parks to the game on a monthly basis, starting with a selection from Descenders art director Roan Albers, and bike park designer Spe. In particular, the fully kitted out Stoker Bike Park is now available to ride with friends, complete with numerous new trails to explore.”
To celebrate this welcome addition, Descenders is free to play this weekend on Steam. If you like it, you can also buy it at a 40% discount for the duration.