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20 December 2014

Race the Sun Review: Put the ship up to ludicrous speed!

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We’re racing at the speed of light right towards the horizon in Race the Sun

 

Why am I racing the sun, trying my utmost to get to the horizon before it sets? How does the boost upgrade give me more time to get there? That’s just moving the sun, which is insanely difficult to do once, let alone repeatedly. None of these questions are answered in the time I played. I’m not sure if they are actually answered at all. So... Do I care? No. I'm having too much fun.

 

 

More power to the engines Scotty!

If you ignore the complete lack of plot, point, order and reason, this game is seriously good fun. Your ship flies forward on solar power and you have to get to the horizon before the sun sets. I’m not too sure why that is - maybe you just need to get home before your parents notice that you’ve been out all day and you want to cover up your absence. Maybe there’s a war going on and you need to get to the safe zone. Maybe the planet is exploding and you have to get to the rescue ship. Who cares? Bolting through a maze of random obstacles while going at stupidly high speed is exhilarating, plot or no.

 

 

The key selling point of Race the Sun is the fact that the course is removed and replaced with a different one each day, so you’ll never get the same course twice. As the course is also very long, there’s almost infinite variety in the game. There’s also an infinite number of pyramids ready to pop out of the fog and make you crash. The main object of Race the Sun is to get to the other end without crashing. Plain and simple.

Of course, there are a few neat tricks to it - it’s not just crashing that you have to avoid. Your ship is solar powered, and will be drained of power if it’s in a shadow for too long. There’s also the added difficulty of boosting; if you don’t hit those boosts, your ship will never make it. Along with jumps and other pickups, there are a variety of things to look out for, as well as grey objects that might ruin your day. Most important of pickups is Tris. Tris is an ingame currency that translates into points. The more Tris you collect on your run, the higher your score, the higher you are on the global leaderboard. There is also an in game store system which allows you to modify your ship to give you certain bonuses.

Meet the devs

We were fortunate enough to have Forest San Filippo answer our questions about the game. He's the cofounder of Flippfly as well as a freelance designer and musician. Here's what he had to say.

Why are we racing the sun? Is there a reason behind this or is it all about the journey?
 
That part of the game is pretty ambiguous. When you play you are thrown into this world (with no explanation) and you have to keep moving and stay in the light to survive. We actually did that pretty intentionally since we want players to be able to let their imaginations go wild as they play. Of-course, there are all kinds of parallels that could be drawn to our lives as humans. For instance, we are all completely dependent on the Sun for our lives to be sustainable at all.
 
What’s the biggest challenge in coming up with new courses for players every day?
 
It took us some time to find the right way to do that. Eventually we realized that the world needed to be both hand-made, and randomized. To accomplish that we hand-designed small chunks of the world and have a system that arranges them somewhat randomly. Even after the system was in-place, there was quite a bit of trial and error involved in getting all the settings right.
 
What were your original aims for Race the Sun, and do you feel you've achieved them or is there still work to be done?
 
One of our original goals was to create a game that was very easy to jump into, but very difficult to master. Its taken a few updates and adjustments, but I think that we've accomplished that. We had other goals of course; the game had to be fun, it had to be innovative in some way, and it had to have lots of replay value. I think that we've reached each of those goals in various ways, but it's also hard to say "good enough". We always seem to be coming up with ways to make the game better.
 
What does the future hold for Race the Sun- do you have any more plans for the game?
 
We are focused on porting at the moment. We were recently greenlit to be on Steam, so we are working on incorporating as many Steam features as possible. We will see what the future holds after that, but we will certainly be bringing the game to other platforms as well.
 
How important is the feeling of speed in video games?
 
The feeling of speed is just one thing that a game can do.  For some games it isn't that important, but for us it is integral to the experience so we wanted to do it really well.
 
 
 
 

88 miles per hour

All in all, Race the Sun is a very simple game - get to a point as fast as you can and dodge things. I haven’t been putting in all these speed references for nothing however, there’s a real sense that you’re going very fast. It’s almost as if the pilot really is gunning it, and that’s brilliant. The notion of speed is something not every racing game gets right, yet Race the Sun hits that feeling bang on, to the point where you’re cringing at every near miss. It’s a wonderful indie gem that you’d be a fool to pass up, and with an infinite number of tracks you’ll never be totally bored.

 

 

Fancy a game that takes real guts to play? Race the Sun may be for you, you can purchase it at their website.

Race the Sun has some brilliant game play that can last for hours, yet there's a complete absence of point and story. Is story that important to making a good game?

Last modified on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 20:13

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