Race The Sun
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 9

Race The Sun is one of those games that is almost impossible to stop playing after you become hooked. It seems very simple at first, but after you get used to the pace and unlock a few upgrades the real fun begins. The different challenges and gameworld that changes daily also adds some longevity. For some pure arcade thrills Race The Sun comes highly recommended.

Gameplay: Addiction thy name is Race The Sun!

Graphics: Simple but very effective.

Sound: The music is thankfully unobtrusive but can become slightly repetitive

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Race The Sun

Developer: Flippfly LLC | Publisher: Flipppfly LLC | Release Date: 2013 | Genre: Action / Indie / Racing | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

As my solar powered craft hurtles towards the setting sun I frantically scan the horizon for an energy boost powerup. I know it will only delay the inevitable and the race is impossible to win, but I am so close to breaking my own high score. With the final rays of the sun disappearing in the distance the world is plunged into darkness and my craft slowly grinds to a halt. I didn’t make it this time, but after some quick configuration changes to my craft I am back in the race and threading the gauntlet of obstacles once more.

To say that Race The Sun is addictive would be an understatement. The game is basically an endless runner that places you at the helm of a high-tech solar craft. Sunlight is the only fuel you need, but you can’t stop and you can’t slow down. The procedural world is made up of obstacles and hazards that require quick reflexes and perfect timing to avoid. These obstacles start out static, but soon begin to move making your job even tougher. You might be required to glide through the gaps in a wall, evade toppling pillars, dodge large boulders rolling into your path and dart past the sails of a spinning windmill.

As if dodging the obstacles at speeds that would make Wipeout veterans search for the brake pedal was not enough, you have to contend with the sun as well. As it goes down the light not only becomes more blinding but the shadows cast by obstacles start to lengthen as well. Stay in the shadows for too long and your solar meter becomes depleted, ending your race even if the sun hasn’t set yet. This forces you to take risks to stay in the sun and make daring grabs for the energy boost power-up that temporarily reverses the setting sun and speeds up your craft.

Apart from the energy boost there are also power-ups that enable your craft to perform a jump or generate an emergency portal avoiding a crash. These first have to be unlocked by performing the missions the game throws at you. These missions can be anything from performing a certain amount of barrel rolls in a level to only performing left or right turns. For every few missions you complete, you level up and unlock new upgrades for your craft. Initially you can only add one upgrade at a time, so you might have to choose between adding space for more jump power-ups or more emergency portals, but by the time you reach level 25 you can equip up to three upgrades. Along the way you’ll also unlock some snazzy decals to jazz up your solar craft. The missions are a lot of fun and add some variety to the game, but it felt like I reached level 25 way too quickly.

I tested the game using both a keyboard and controller and while I stuck to the latter the keyboard controls worked great. The craft is responsive no matter what your chosen control scheme and if you smash into objects it is usually because a miscalculation on your own part. The minimalist landscapes are dotted with “Tris,” glowing collectables that increase your score modifier. If you clip any obstacles without smashing your craft to smithereens, your score modifier is dropped a few notches, which makes chasing those leaderboards extra tricky. Speaking of leaderboards, the gameworld changes every day so there are fresh leaderboards every 24 hours. This is a great feature as it gives you a whole day to try and master the game before wiping the slate clean the next and providing a new challenge.

If you want an even bigger challenge you can try the ultra hard and aptly named “Apocalypse” mode which will really test your mettle. I barely made it through the second area in this mode so to make it far in Apocalypse you probably need the reflexes of a hummingbird. Flippfly also generously included the Simplex World Creator with which you can create your own levels, although a quick scan through the basic documentation before you jump in is highly recommended.

Race The Sun is one of those games that look almost too simple to be fun. You can only move left or right and perform a jump with the right power-up but this never feels limiting in any way. As you get deeper into the game levels start to feel almost like mazes of obstacles and clearing an area perfectly feels like you have completed the Death Star trench run.

The visual style embraces minimalism and ensures even when obstacles are flying past you at crazy speeds your surroundings never become too confusing or cluttered. There are also portals that warp you to void levels where instead of chasing the sun you traverse an asteroid field. These void levels look great and like the rest of the game would look incredible on the Oculus Rift. The audio is good, but after repeated plays the tunes can start to become a bit repetitive. The sound effects are crisp and clear and the chime of collected Tris can become quite hypnotic at high speeds.

Anyone that enjoys the thrill of chasing a high score or want to put their reflexes to the test will enjoy Race The Sun. The game captures the buzz of a high-speed arcade game and had us having “just one more go” long after the sun has gone down in the real world. This is not a game to play if you want a story or blow things up, but it is one that you’ll find yourself coming back to again and again.

*Review originally published December 2013.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows: XP, Vista, 7, 8
  • Processor: Dual Core Processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: SM2.0 (or later) Graphics Card
  • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space
  • OS: Mac OS X: 10.5, 10.6, 10.7, 10.8, 10.9
  • Processor: Dual Core Processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: SM2.0 (or later) Graphics Card
  • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 10.04 (and newer)
  • Processor: Dual Core Processor
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: SM2.0 (or later) Graphics Card
  • Hard Drive: 150 MB available space

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