Mad Skills Motocross 2 (iOS|Android) is the long-awaited sequel to one of my favorite mobile racing games ever, bringing more challenging 2D motocross racing. But this time, you don't have to spend a cent; Mad Skills Motocross 2 is a freemium game, and the in-app purchase model stays out of your way as long as you have "mad skills."
Not for the casual gamer, this racing game is all about precision and going for the perfect run, so if you have the patience, you can beat the game without using any in-app purchases. With that said, those who need an advantage can get it if they want to spend a little extra cash.
Start your engines
The control system for Mad Skills Motocross gives you buttons for brakes and gas on the left and the ability to lean forward or back on the right. The way you tilt your rider is extremely important in this game because it is often in your landings and how you race through difficult sections that mean the difference between winning and losing.
One of the early secrets you learn is that leaning back makes you a bit faster, while riding on your rear wheel is faster still. The only problem is if you lean too far, you'll land on your back and crash. Fortunately, the early tracks are a bit easier, so you get a little leeway against early opponents which gives you some time to learn how to handle your bike.
The challenges (and purchase opportunities) come quickly
Though the early races are manageable even with a few mistakes, it doesn't take long before you'll need to get almost perfect runs in order to beat your opponents. You can either gut it out and play through the races or pay to upgrade.
The tracks are separated into three difficulty levels from novice to expert. You'll need to complete almost all of the races from the novice level in order to open the intermediate tracks, and then finish most of the intermediate tracks to open the expert level. But the problem is even the novice tracks can be very difficult, and your opponents improve their bikes as you attain higher levels, so you'll need to unlock new bikes just to keep up.
Freeium done right
Here's where the freemium model comes in, but it's not too bad. You unlock new bikes by winning a number of races. As an example, in order to unlock the third dirtbike, you need to complete at least 18 races. This puts you a few races into the intermediate category so you'll be racing and re-racing tracks for the perfect run just to win the race on your subpar bike. On the other hand, you could purchase the next upgrade ahead of time for $1.99 and have an edge that will make completing tracks easier or you can buy rockets that give you a brief burst of speed while racing.
This is a freemium model I like because upgrading -- though it gives you an edge -- is not required and there is still a path to spending zero money as long as you're willing to put in the work.