There is a single word that comes to mind after spending a couple hours with Big Ben Interactive’s Cyberbike and “Cyberbike Cycling Sports” – Almost.
The title, out now for the Nintendo Wii, is aimed at replicating the experience of cycling through a $200 peripheral stationery bike. The bike, for starters, is a downright pain in the neck to put together. The instruction manual isn’t particularly helpful and neither are the pictures. The bike is made out of metal and not plastic, which is a plus, but honestly given the price tag on the thing a solid frame is the least you can ask for.
Once you’ve got the bike up and running, the first half hour of so is pretty fun. However, the novelty wears off quick. The included game comes with a few different modes, including story and fitness. In story mode, you move all over an imaginary planet collecting recyclable items or other targets. The bike levels are entertaining enough though the courses are frustrating.
Outside of the bike, the game allows you to operate a helicopter, submarine and a wagon. All of these modes are clunky, unintuitive, difficult to accurately control and instantly generate a near instinctual reaction to turn the system off.
Fitness mode, thankfully, is a little bit better. The game allows you to set up levels based on how many calories you want to burn. Most of these levels are pretty straight forward, designed to keep you moving instead of testing your ability to navigate in and out of tight corners. The downfall to fitness mode, however, is it’s not particularly challenging. The bike’s resistance, even at its toughest setting, isn’t anything to write home about. The lack of foot straps are also a problem. You’ll notice your feet go flying off the pedals anytime you start moving too fast.
Obviously, the title and the bike are meant to cash in on the Wii’s long lauded fitness aspects. With Playstation Move and Xbox Kinect, however, I can’t see where a $200 exercise bike that doesn’t really work well and comes with a fundamentally flawed bit of software is worth the price.
Ultimately, there was nothing about the game or the experience of riding the bike that generated any desire for me to get back on it after my initial run. The modes aren’t that exciting and though the bike is sturdy, I don’t think the fitness element is realized to its full potential.