There’s never been a motorbike game quite like RiMS Racing before.
Developed by Raceward Studio, RiMS Racing doesn’t just expect you to be a good rider, it also wants you to be a mechanic and an engineer. Poised as an educational tool as much as it is a racing game, on the track you’ll need to perform well to raise your profile as well as your bank balance. Off the track, you’ll need to manually perform maintenance on your bike and maybe consider upgrading it. Needless to say, you’re quite involved in your team’s operations.
Jump into the career mode of RiMS Racing, and you’ll find that there are three core elements to it: Buy, Work and Win. You may presume that the Buy part is the process of buying bikes, but you’re wrong. RiMS Racing only features eight licensed bikes, but they’re all recreated on a level that’s unparalleled. At the outset of your career you’ll choose one for free; the rest you can win by completing events. Instead, the Buy aspect relates to buying components for your bikes.
You see, owning a motorbike is one thing, but making sure it’s at peak performance is another, especially when racing. With that in mind, you’ll need to keep a close eye on every component of your bike to make sure it’s performing as it should, and that’s where Work comes in. If a component isn’t quite up to scratch, it’s your job to disassemble your bike to gain access to it, then swap it out for something newer or better. Over 45 parts of your bike can be unmounted and then fiddled with, and more than 500 official aftermarket parts are available from the biggest names in the industry. They’re all available from the outset, too. You just won’t have the money to buy them.
With your bike in a raceable state, you can access the race calendar and choose an event. Now it’s time to Win. There’s a wide variety of events on offer, ranging from head-to-head races to Academy Challenges. Most take place on real-life circuits, but there are some roads thrown in for good measure, too. You’ll need to particularly take care on those, as they’re generally narrow and leave little room for error. Perform well enough and you’ll earn cash, boost your reputation, and maybe even bag yourself some Team Credits.
As a racing game, RiMS Racing is actually very enjoyable. The visuals are rather nice on PS5, and performance is solid. Even better, the physics are convincing. Braking or accelerating when you really shouldn’t will generally lead to a case of road rash and, using the same bike race after race, you can genuinely feel when something’s wrong with it. Brilliant DualSense implementation is part of that, with various sounds coming through the speaker to draw you further into the action, and impressive use of both haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Never has a motorbike racing game looked or played better.
If it isn’t already clear though, RiMS Racing is a serious racing game for serious motorbike fans. You can’t just mindlessly blast around tracks like you’re playing an arcade racing game, and there are no rewinds available if you mess up and fall off your bike. There are the usual assortment of assists available, however, as well as multiple physics models and AI settings to tweak the difficulty to your preferences. There’s plenty of help available when it comes to tuning your bike as well. All in all, it might not be the most accessible motorbike racing game game, but it tries.
Unfortunately though, as original and inventive as RiMS Racing‘s bike management is, it just detracts from the game overall due to its implementation. You see, changing opponents is achieved by basically performing long sequences of button inputs. To unmount a part, for example, you might have to rotate the left stick, hold the left stick up while holding X, rotate the left stick again, hold the left analogue stick left while holding Square, then rotate the left stick again. After then changing a part, you’ll have to perform yet more inputs to re-mount. Do that for five parts in a row, and it soon becomes tedious.
Making a pit stop also requires you to complete a sequence of button inputs, putting you under pressure. Thankfully, with the Team Credits you earn you can unlock the option to have the mounting and unmounting process done for you, as well as simplifying your pit stops. The Pit Stop inputs can be simply turned off in the game’s options, too. Until you’ve earned enough Team Credits to enable the quick mounting and unmounting of parts, however, it’s a chore. Plus, those Team Credits might be better used in other ways, such as reducing wear on components, or increasing the credits you earn in events.
Outside of Career mode, you can, of course, take part in single races against the CPU. There’s also an Academy mode where you can replay any academy events you’ve completed in your career to further brush up your skills, or take part in a Private Session where it’s just you, your bike, and the track of your choice. Further to that there are a trio of multiplayer options. Online challenges allow you to push yourself and see how you square up to others via worldwide leaderboards. Do well, and you might increase your fame. Meanwhile, for those who actually like to brush shoulders with others on the track, custom online events can be created, and offline split-screen head-to-head races are available.
RiMS Racing is an enticing prospect for motorbike racing fans. It’s got great audio and visuals, convincing physics, and eight of the world’s most desirable bikes recreated in stunning detail. Even better, the actual act of racing is challenging, but highly enjoyable. It’s just a shame that one of the features that makes it truly unique – fiddling with components to make sure your bike is in tip-top shape – quickly becomes rather tedious thanks to the long string of button inputs required. Thankfully you can get around it with a little bit of effort, then you’ll have a much better time.
RiMS Racing Review: GameSpew’s Score