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Game Review | Race the Sun


Game summary: Control a solar-powered spacecraft as it races through a minimalist landscape with abstract shapes and various obstacles. Levels are pseudo-procedurally-generated and separated into distinct regions, each region having different sets of challenges. (Wikipedia)

Race the Sun is another simple indie game that isn't anything special, but doesn't really do anything wrong and is actually about as good as the premise allows it to be. Instead, the reason I don't have any great praise for it is that it is an inherently limited game.

Each day, a new course of obstacles is generated for you to zip through and see how far you can get before the sun completely sets below the horizon. Said sun is always in front of you, and is actually nice break from simply having a time counting down.

All you do is move left and right, collecting an assortment of power-ups as you go - including a jump ability - and try to avoid smacking into things. It's the kind of game you should only really play once or twice a day, because it'll be the same course every time.

Some days, this works brilliantly and you might end up playing the same course a lot of times because you'll be given any number of speed boosts to give you a true white-knuckle experience that can be genuinely thrilling.

On the other hand, there'll be days where speed boosts are rare, condemning you to gently slow down over time with no way of making things more exciting other than deliberately steering as close to the various obstacles as you can get.

One thing to note about these obstacles is that some actually provide a set-up for their appearance in later regions - you'll flash by rockets launching from silos in one region, only to then have to dodge the colossal explosions when they come raining back down to earth later on.

All in all, fun - but only in short bursts. The visuals don't really help to liven things up either, with the colour scheme essentially being black, white, and all the shades of grey in-between. At least the design and colours are consistent, and they do allow you to focus on keeping going.

The music is pretty fantastic though, being fast-paced enough to keep up with the action, but never intrusive. Again, there's not much variety, but there doesn't really need to be any - much like the visuals, it complements the gameplay perfectly.

One gripe though: the music does change to something a little more dramatic when the bottom of the sun hits the horizon to let you know that time is running out. However, if you gain enough speed to force the sun back up, the music will never change back - nothing major, just a minor fault.

Race the Sun is the kind of game that lives up to its name perfectly - you race across a new landscape with a new set of obstacles every day, seeing how far you can go before the sun finally sets. It's certainly enjoyable, with that 'one more go' appeal, but the simple premise can be repetitive if played for any length of time.


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