Games can easily become overly complicated. Whether it’s with over the top graphics which render your graphics card to a bubbling puddle of melted plastic, or game play features which even confuse the developers themselves, it’s nice to finally find a game that’s both simple in presentation and in gameplay which is absolutely addicting – I’m talking about Race the Sun.
Mobile games today are full of some sort of “endless runner” it has essentially become it’s own genre. Over used? Probably, but if it’s done well it can become a really fun game. One thing I haven’t noticed though is the “endless runner” game coming away from mobile onto other platforms, that was, until now.
Race the Sun is a fairly simple indie title from Flippfly LLC which has simple monochrome graphics, a simple non intrusive soundtrack, and simple game play mechanics, but all together is an overwhelmingly addictive endless runner game for PC, Linux and Mac. At first the game seemed to be an awful port of a mobile game optimised for computer graphics, but as the game progressed I came to realise that it was more than that, I’m actually really pleased I stuck with it because I can’t get enough.
When I first started the game I had little to no idea about it. I find that this helps me judge the game for what it is and not the hype that surrounds it. Obviously in my line of work that’s pretty difficult but I somehow managed to overlook this game. When I started up the game it immediately threw me into the first region, I was presented with a grey bird-like ship which I could easily control using my gamepad but all I could really do was go left and right, that was all – bear with me here.
The game is simple, you’re required to get as far as you can, like with most endless runners that objective seems obvious. At first you’re limited to going left and right in order to avoid object and collect blue gems which add 100 points to your score. The only issue is that the sun is going down. The game is split into different regions which each have a short break of freedom between them so you’re not constantly trying to avoid obstacles, each region has added difficulties thrown in such as moving obstacles, ramps, awkward tight gaps, and taller obstacles – though why should taller obstacles matter?
Your bird-like ship that you control is solar powered which means as soon as you’re out of the sun, you’ll power down and game over. Even if you’re the most skilled pilot eventually the sun will go down and it’ll all be over. At this stage I didn’t understand the point of the game. “Why is this an endless runner if the sun ultimately goes down?” I said to myself, then I levelled up, this caused me to unlock a new type of power-up one which gives me a much needed boost but at the same time turns back time so I have a few seconds more sunlight.
That’s the most appealing thing about this game, it’s simplistic nature allows for a slow learning curve which doesn’t require a lot of thinking it actually requires you to stick at the game and to keep challenging yourself to unlock more features such as multiplier bonuses which if you collect five or more of those blue gems then you’ll get a multiplier which boosts your score. Jump power-ups are also another unlock, this allows you to get yourself out of a jam by boosting you up in the air for a few seconds. Other unlocks include attachments for your vehicle such as magnets which allow you to suck in nearby power-ups and gems.
The most interesting thing about Race the Sun is that every day there’s a new world. Due to the random nature of the world I was playing on I didn’t think it mattered that the world changes every 24 hours, that was until I played it again the next day. You’ll be surprised how actually used to the world you become after playing it for a while. With objects just randomly scattered about everywhere you’ll be confused as to how you can get used to it, but it happens. You’ll also be surprised how this can dramatically change your game, you might be struggling to get to Region 3 on one world, the next day you’ll probably whizz through Region 3 all the way to 5 without a single struggle.
The game handles beautifully too, the controls take a little bit of getting used to but once you’ve got your eye in, you’ll be able to pick it back up without a problem.
It’s really, really nice to see a game which begins as something so, so simple, become ridiculously diverse and in-depth. The further you progress you unlock more features such as challenges which in themselves unlock challenge specific bonuses. If you’re also looking for multiplayer value you can create a team and start a team relay!
When you eventually collide with something you get the option to share your results on Facebook, Twitter, or via email. This then provides a link to others to continue where you left off, this score will then be added to the Team Relay leaderboard and gets more people involved in the game. There’s also a leaderboard for single players too, I managed to get to #53 oh yes!
Overall Race the Sun became something more than I ever expected from when I first began to play. I feel that I myself, as cheesy as it sounds, have taken a journey with the game from it’s humble beginings with the ability to only turn left and right, to a game which involves fast paced gameplay, diverse open worlds that continuously change, tons of challenges to expand your gameplay, and online leaderboards which make you want to play for hours until you’re at the top.
I’d definitely recommend grabbing Race the Sun, you can buy it directly from Flippfly for $10 and I’d say it’s definitely worth it. If you’re also feeling creative you can also jump into the level editor, but that’s not really my cup of tea, I’d rather play!