There are some games that just seem to grab you instantly and Race The Sun is one of those. From the moment we laid eyes on it, it has been on our radar and now it is finally here.
It is no surprise to learn that Gamestyle are big fans of Indie titles it is the one reason we are huge fans of the Vita and are getting plenty of value from the PS4 in its first year. Something really stood out about early footage of Race The Sun and we can tell you it has been very much worth the wait.
It is a game that is very much a one trick pony, you take your craft and you race into the screen for as long as you can, with your only timer being a setting sun. Objects are bad and if you hit them it is game over, shadows are bad as they slow you down, sunlit areas are good as they keep you going fast and flashy things are great as they help in some way or another.
It is actually not doing anything new that hasn’t been seen before, but at the same time it still feels very unique and that comes from some crisp stylized design and wonderfully realised controls.
What is unusual though is that unlike many games of this type, it isn’t one you can pick up for the first time and just know what to do. Instead it takes quite a while to get used to how the craft flows and how much inertia there is within the game and we’d say that for a good period early on, you’ll be crashing and failing rather often.
But, after that initial period, it clicks and you soon realise how things work, picking out little areas that can not only get you through each region, but also maximise your point scoring at the same time. You guide your craft though areas on instinct and you just know where you can take chances and where you need to play it safe.
As you play through you are given various objectives to meet, things like hit a certain score target, spend this amount of time airborn, don’t hit anything in one region, etc and by completing these objective you can level up your ship. With each new level comes a new reward, such as overall perks, like starting with a 2x multiplier, or ship attachment perks like magnets for picks up, or storing extra jumps. Choosing which ones to add can really change how you approach a level.
One example being adding extra stored jumps, which can see you spend most of a region airborne, missing all the dangerous obstacles and staying safe, the offset to that though, is you miss the pick ups for increasing your score, which doesn’t help for your leaderboard position. Each option has unique pros and cons and the fun comes trying to find the best for your play style.
The leaderboards and the world are reset every 24 hours and randomly generated again, but unlike the daily challenges in the likes of Spelunky or OlliOlli, this isn’t a secondary mode to the main game, this IS the main game. It is a game that is designed to be a daily challenge from the ground up and it is all the better for it.
There are other modes that can be unlocked like the special abilities can for your craft and one of these is created especially for Sony’s systems and that is called Labyrinthia. It is a mode that plays a lot slower than the main game and is set to a static world permanently, the camera is set to a higher angle and is more of a puzzle type mode than the main game as it asks you to really plan ahead to get as far as you can. It is a real departure from the main game, but it adds a nice bit of variety.
Race The Sun is a cross-buy and cross-save title for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita and the cross-save works flawlessly. You won’t be able to help just picking this up for a quick go, whether at home or on the road, then losing way too much time to its charms. The Indie revolution is still going strong and this is yet another wonderful example of that.