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Race the Sun

August 19th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

In the preview I published back in March of 2013, I compared this game to flying through the forests of Endor on a speeder bike.  After months of fine-tuning, the game was finally released to the public on August 19, 2013.  Things have changed a bit, but the concept is still the same…dodge obsticles at high speeds in an attempt to get the highest score possible.  Before we take a look at the game in closer detail, I’d like to once again thank Forest San Filippo from Flippfly LLC for providing me with a free copy of the game.

Race the Sun

Race the Sun (PC, Mac, Linux)

The main menu will allow the player to choose a map, customize their ship, view leaderboards, and adjust game options.  The options menu addresses sound levels only, but it’s worth mentioning that the game uses the Unity engine.  For those of you familiar with it, you’ll be able to adjust screen resolution, toggle fullscreen, and change the graphics quality via a window pop up before the game launches.  All in all, the options cover your basics adequately.  You’ll also need to create a free Flippfly account and login to play, which goes hand in hand mainly with the leaderboards and sharing any maps that you may have created.

For those of you who haven’t read my preview or are just now discovering “Race the Sun” for the first time, you’ll be in control of a craft that must dodge enemies and obstacles in an attempt to get as far as you can.  The sun, which powers your craft, will be setting in the distance.  Once the sun goes down, your craft loses power and the game ends…of course, this is assuming that you haven’t wrecked into something before then.  In essence, the sun is a timer that you’ll be endeavouring to keep up in the sky by any means necessary.  Avoiding clouds and picking up boosters assist you in this goal, but ultimately you’ll meet an untimely death…it’s just a matter of when.

Race the Sun

Using the boost to get through since 1993.

The most noticeable difference between the early stages of the Beta and release is the inclusion of the Simplex World Creator.  Essentially, you’ll be able to design your own maps in an easy-to-use interface.  I know what you’re thinking…if you’re flying through levels at an incredibly high speeds, how could you hope to populate all of the content you’d see by hand?  It’s actually quite ingenious…the user creates objects, defines how and in what manner these objects appear in a pattern, and then specifies how these patterns are to surface on the map.  Rather than set each object individually, you’ll be designing specific objects and then defining their behavior and how often they spawn.  I found it to be intuitive and simplistic all at the same time, and I have no doubt that folks with an imagination will get a lot of mileage out of this tool.

Not to worry, if your busy lifestyle prevents you from sitting down and creating levels, the default “campaign” has you covered.  Keep in mind that I’m using the word “campaign” loosely, as your experiences will change as you continuously play the game.  Why?  The level up mechanic, which was a feature in the Beta, is still alive and kicking.  As you complete particular objectives and level up, you’ll gain access to power-ups that seed their way into the course.  Getting through the first few regions suddenly become more plausible with these power ups in play, so it’s important to keep these objectives in the back of your mind while you’re trying to avoid crashing into something.  You’ll also have an array of passive abilities at your disposal, which you can switch out at will to suit your particular play style.  I also want to quickly add that you can play maps that other users have created, should you happen to tire of the default map.

Race the Sun

Or, you can duplicate and edit an existing file rather than having to start from scratch.

Co-operative play is available, but not in the way you might think.  Rather than folks controlling a craft at the same time on the same course, one player will attempt to get as far as they can.  Once that player crashes or runs out of steam, the second player will pick up where they left off…think of it as a relay race.  Players will continue in this fashion until four runs are completed, after which the results / score is posted to the leaderboards for the purposes of bragging rights.  If you don’t have any friends that play the game, never fear…you’ll be granted the option to share a link that allows total strangers to pick up where you left off.  Also new to the game is an apocalyptic mode, which basically adds explosions and the like via some sort of bombardment from the sky.  Players will have access to this mode once they advance their profile to a certain level (eleven).  It adds an extra layer of excitement to the base game that will give you much more to think about.

Overall, I found “Race the Sun” to be a simplistic, yet riveting experience.  Games like this prove that you don’t need overly complicated gameplay mechanics to make something fun.  It’ll surely test your reflexes as there’s no way to slow things down to make the game easier. Despite this, the game almost encourages you to do better next time, what with the inclusion of the level up system.  The ability to play maps that others have created increases the replayability tenfold, a tribute to the developer’s interest in forming a community.  Fast-paced, solid, and tons of fun, “Race the Sun” should be on everyone’s hard drive, even if it’s just for the occasional romp in the park.  The core game is priced at ten dollars, but you can swoop in (pardon the pun) and pick up the soundtrack by dropping an extra five…definately worth it for the content that the game delivers.

Final Verdict: 9/10

You can learn more about and purchase “Race the Sun” by visiting the official website, here:

http://flippfly.com/

You can help bring the game to Steam by voting for it on its Greenlight page, here:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=92973632

You can view video play sessions of the final product, here:

 

You can view video play sessions of the Beta, here:

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