When you think of “cool” wheels, what comes to mind? Motorcycles? A Lamborghini, perhaps? How about a unicycle? Yeah, that last one isn’t exactly known for being desirable or interesting aside from making certain jugglers’ acts more difficult, yet for a brief moment in the latter portion of 1994, unicycles were cool again. I present to you Uniracers, a game where self-aware unicycles, complete with names and attitude, race one another through courses that look like bad acid trips.
What can be said about this game? Not much, honestly—it may be an awesome game, but it’s ridiculously straightforward. In fact, “This is a 2D racing game for the Super Nintendo with twisty-turny courses” would almost suffice as a review. Instead of sitting here and rambling like usual, I’m going to link to a video of some gameplay and explain what you’re seeing.
Okay, first thing: Tricks give you speed, which is important in racing games unless you enjoy failing at everything. Parts of the track that you twist around like at 1:51 don’t allow you to do tricks, however, and landing a trick on such a section (even if you started before getting to it) will automatically send you backward, losing precious seconds and momentum. Everything is color coded, most of the time using two-color schemes that blend together when you’re going at high rates of speed, meaning that you have advance warning of when such sections are coming up. This allows you to plan out the best time to do tricks and work out when there are upcoming obstacles like the goop at 1:27 (that you can jump over).
The more complex your trick, the faster the burst of speed you receive when you land. Of course, the more complex the trick, the more difficult it is to land upright. You can easily spin in all kinds of different directions, and simply mashing buttons isn’t very conducive to landing on your feet. Or wheel. Or whatever it technically is to a living unicycle.
There are dips and loops and all kinds of crazy things going on, but all it really takes is a few minutes to get used to the whole thing. This is one of those games that’s easy to learn and difficult to master, and despite the simplicity of the whole thing, it manages to be more fun than it looks.
Graphics are pleasant and colorful and play a role in the gameplay with the color-coded course sections, which is nice. The music is this faux-rock stuff that actually grows on you, but there aren’t that many tracks, making the whole thing wear thin after awhile. This isn’t exactly a “play for weeks and weeks non-stop” kind of game, though, being designed more for short bursts of play here and there, so that’s not really that big of a problem.
The best thing about Uniracers is the two-player split-screen play. The only thing better than taking on computer opponents through crazy, colorful levels is taking on a human opponent. It also opens the door to outbursts like, “Yeeeeah, I totally just dominated your unicycle, bro!” That’s not something you get to say every day, you know. I hope.
Here’s what you should do: