Sidekick Cycle, from Global Gaming Initiative, is a game that seeks to deliver some fun while giving back to people in need. How do they do both, you ask? With bicycles! The downhill cycling game offers up a gaming experience that makes sure every download goes to a good cause. But is Sidekick Cycle a good game to boot? Or does it all go down hill after you hit the "Play" button?

Now, before I get into the meat of Sidekick Cycle, you should know that Global Gaming Initiative is trying to raise awareness for the positive impacts that bikes can make in impoverished communities with this game. According to the App Store description, a bike, "can make sure a kid attends school every day, as well as provide a daily healthy activity." What's more is that for 387 downloads that Sidekick Cycle gets, Global Gaming Initiative will donate a bike to kids in need. Isn't that awesome?

But, regardless of Sidekick Cycle's commendable altruistic endeavors, I still have to grade it as a game. How does it fare? Well, it's fair.

Sidekick Cycle is a one-touch downhill cycling game in which you race across different locales, collecting gears, beating times and mastering the terrain. One touch on the bottom of the screen makes your bearded rider perform a bunny hop. The longer you hold down on the screen, the higher your rider will jump and start performing a backflip. Be sure you have enough clearance after you jump, lest you land on your neck!

There are several obstacles littered around the levels, such as rocks and logs. Crashing into these things will obviously end your run and force you to restart a level, so it's best to tap your screen lightly to perform short bunny hops over them. If you'd rather roll through, unimpeded, then you can buy a Rocky Rhino sidekick to ride with you and help you bust through such obstacles. Different sidekicks will have different beneficial abilities that can help you make it through more levels. These guys can cost quite a bit of coin, so make sure you save up for the ones you really want.

Making it through each level isn't especially difficult, but it takes a bit of trial and error to master a run. Your initial attempts should be spent learning the lay of the land so that you know what to expect and can prepare your moves accordingly. If there's a ramp in the middle of the level that leads down a steep drop, then you'll know that you can perform a 1080-degree backflip in midair and get a major boost from it. Conversely, you'll spot and note where short jumps are so that you don't end up flat on your face or backflipping into a rock.

Sidekick Cycle is a simple game that's fun to play in bursts, but there are better endless runner/downhill racer experiences to be found in the App Store. One big mark against Sidekick Cycle is that its levels tend to get boring after a while since you see the same kinds of environments over and over, but at least Global Gaming Initiative is working on adding more levels in future updates.

As a game that aims at making a difference by donating to a good cause, I give it 8/10 sushi rolls. But as a downhill racing game that stands by itself, it gets 6.5/10. It's a fun ride, but it needs to get a lot beefier before getting on a bike becomes truly worth it.


App Store Link: Sidekick Cycle for iPhone & iPad | By Global Gaming Initiative | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0.2 | 39.6 MB | Rating 4+

6.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating