Descenders is a game about extremely brave bicycles


Like most people, I don’t like falling down the stairs, so the prospect of falling down a hill or a mountain seems absolutely terrible. Incredibly, some people find falling very entertaining and they strap skis or boards to themselves expressly for the purpose of throwing themselves down slopes.

Descenders [official site] is the new game from the creators of butt-sliding action racing game Action Henk, and it’s all about falling down procedurally generated hills while attached to a bicycle. The announcement trailer, which you can see below, shows a bicycle jumping over a train and has a first-person section in which the bicycle is being attacked by trees. I might be scared of falling in real life, but I would happily fall down these digital hills.

These bicycles should not be driving around at night, especially not if they’re going to drive around procedurally generated dangerzones. It all seems terribly irresponsible.

They’re doing it for street cred, of course, called ‘Rep Points’ here. The whole point is to impress whichever of the three in-game teams you belong to while making the others look like fools. The teams form a sort of social hub, where you can hang out with friends, practice your riding and stunt-crafting. Descenders is driven by a freestyle control system and a “fully-fledged physics system”, which presumably means I’ll be able to spin around in mid-air and then crumple into a heap precisely in the manner of my choosing.

Descenders, which is coming to Steam “soon”, will be the first game published by No More Robots, a new label founded by Manchester’s own Mike Rose, formerly of games journalism and tinyBuild. I can only assume this means my city is on the verge of becoming a new indie powerhouse. There’ll be a 24 Hour Party People about the Manchester games scene one day. Steve Coogan will play Ocean Software.

Final thought: does anyone else remember Motocross Madness 2? If Descenders is half as much fun as that notable bike crash simulator, it’ll be a fine thing.


  1. grimdanfango says:

    You know what would actually be interesting? A mountain-biking *simulation*, that wasn’t just a dressed up arcade motorbike game that attempted to channel Star Wars’ Endor speeder bikes and completely ignore any semblance of physics.

    • SenorRoboto says:

      There’s a pretty good one of those already, it’s called Real Life

    • rondertaker says:

      can we just forever have a moratorium on complaints that amount to “THIS IS NOT THE THING I WANTED, WHY ISNT IT EXACTLY THE THING THAT I WANT IT TO BE INSTEAD OF WHAT ITS CREATORS INTENDED” because thats about the least constructive criticism possible.

      • grimdanfango says:

        Neither is a thing I want. It’s fine that it’s just yet another ultra-arcadey leave-physics-at-the-door shallow racer whose only appeal is seeing generic scenery zip past at a hundred miles per hour… I’m sure it’s a lucrative enough market to knock out another game for. It’s just not remotely interesting to me, and it made me think of something that would be.

      • April March says:

        I’d just reword all my posts to read “[THING THAT EXISTS] is fine, but now I wish I could play [THING I IMAGINE] instead!”

    • rushakoff says:

      look up MTB free ride. there is a reason it was never finished… cause it really isn’t all that interesting.. but you should have fun with what is there if that is what you really are into.

    • bob22 says:

      I don’t know if anything came of it but this game featured a while back on RPS looked great: link to

      I agree that this is far too amped up. It’s just not cycling so why bother skinning it that way? Might as well have made them future bikes and gone AG.

  2. rustybroomhandle says:

    The wooshing through the trees bit made me think of ye olde 3D Deathchase on the ZX Speccy.

  3. Suits says:

    Let’s hope it is not another Steep™

  4. jTenebrous says:

    Absolutely, I do remember Motocross Madness 2 – it was one of the early games with a large community making lots of modded bikes and tracks, and with good online play. Would love something like that to exist again, but like so many other hobbies from the bygone “XTreme Sports” days of the early noughties, it seems its glory days in videogaming are gone or at least dormant. This game definitely looks like a throwback to those titles, and I was half-expecting to see “Mountain Dew” and “No Fear” billboards littered around the levels – they even used the word “Extreme” in the subtitle (which I find slightly cringey these days). Definitely won’t pre-order this game, but will keep an eye out and wait for a Wot I Think.

  5. poliovaccine says:

    Ugh – see, I’m a fairly adrenaline-seeking type, I absolutely *do* enjoy “falling… with style” in the form of skateboarding and snowboarding and windsurfing and Steve Coogan and etc, but yeah, ever since one fateful day when I first tried to take up BMX, and instead got myself uniquely mangled in an especially epic fall*, bikes just scare the crap out of me (*went off a jump and came down off the trail/on the side of the hill, tumbled down the hill w my leg caught in the chain and was dragged by the bike into a bunch of thorn bushes which apparently also cause a rash, for the curious). Sooo these days I might be induced into the litest bit of mountain biking, but IRL stuff like this game just puts my hackles *right* up. Which is exactly what makes doing it in a simulation so much fun, actually – kinda like how my wretched-bad claustrophobia actually makes A Scanner Sombre that much more tense and horrifying… so yeah, I might be into Descenders as, like, a horror game, haha.

    Yikes but I still remember every instant of that fall, eesh… I mean I went off a jump that was on a hill, and missed the landing area, instead landing on a steep downhill slope covered in brush… yknow how when adrenaline is pumping you kinda think almost in slow motion? I remember that happening when I realized I was going to come down off the side of the hill, and saw just how far of a drop I had swelling up to meet me.. haha agagagagag it still freaks me out just to think about it! May have to pick this up just to try and build an immunity to the phobia!

  6. Al__S says:

    Weird but genuine niggle: In real life, Downhill Mountain Biking is one of a couple of disciplines in cycling where skin tight clothing is not just considered uncool but is against the rules for competition. Really. Cross Country MTB has gone over to road style kit but not Downhill.

    • BadCatWillum says:

      The ‘gone over to road clothing’ bit is the other way around. Look at old photos of Missy Giove, John Tomac or Jason McRoy downhilling in Lycra in the early 90s. Baggies came in along with pads along with the new school BMX dirt riders taking up MTB in the mid/late 90s once people realised you could stop getting hurt with a bit of protection.

  7. Shazbut says:

    This looks good but isn’t it just a bit too fast? Feels like the bikes have rockets attached

    • bob22 says:

      Agreed. I think they mistook bikes for motorbikes?

      • ShrikeMalakim says:

        They in fact did not. This is accurate. link to – Gee Atherton doing a Downhill MTB Hardline track with a GoPro.

        • bob22 says:

          Oh I’m quite aware that it’s a sport with pace, but did you actually watch the trailer? They look like they’re travelling at about 200mph.

  8. smeaa mario says:

    This trailer only served to remind me how much I want a sequel to Fuel.

  9. davebo says:

    That’s definitely arcadey but I’m interested. I’m 39 and just two weeks ago I had my worst downhill mtb crash yet. Trail rash all over my back, leg and arm. Hit my collarbone but didn’t break. Got up, went for one last run before the lifts closed. You know how your parents would say it’s always fun until someone gets hurt? Downhill is fun even after you get hurt! Sure you’re not having fun while you’re recovering for several weeks, but that’s a “worry about it later” problem.

    • coldkingnowhere says:

      Loosely related: I love cycling but am currently recovering from a knee surgery…so I don’t know whether this game would bring me vicarious enjoyment or resentment. Probably both.

  10. JustAchaP says:

    Motocross Madness 2 was one of my favourite games when I was a kid. This looks pretty fun too.

  11. vahnn says:

    This looks like complete garbage, and as a bicycle enthusiast I can’t wait to play it.

  12. Catweasel says:

    I wanna see a sequel to Downhill Domination, a game I had back on the PS2. It was a racing down mountains on bikes game with Road Rash combat, was a super fun time.