Race the Sun Review: Challenging, sleek, and above all, highly addicting
Race the Sun will, more often than not, kick your ass. It's one of those seemingly simplistic games at first glance, though once you start playing, you realize that it has a different agenda. It wants to suck you in, to keep you progressing, all the while making sure you're hand-eye coordination is at an all time high through some rather devious and punishing level design. I love it.
Like the name implies, Race the Sun will have you steering a nimble ship through various geometric obstacles before the Sun sets. Your objective is to get as far as you can without crashing into said obstacles. On top of all that, your ship is solar-powered, meaning when the Sun is gone, so is your fuel. But the mechanics go even further. As the Sun sets, it casts longer shadows on all the various obstacles you're trying to dodge. Not only are you making sure you don't collide with any of them, you're then also tasked with steering clear of these shadows, adding an even deeper layer of strategy to the game.
Each run will have various colored pick-ups. Blue ones add to your score multiplier, while green ones allow you to jump to either help you survive a near collision or to access higher routes with even more multipliers. There are two very coveted pick-ups that you'll want to look out for. Firstly, the yellow one will give you a slight speed boost, but it also turns back time on the Sun, giving you back some of that precious time and energy you need to get further. Additionally, the pink pick-up will save you from any one collision.
Of course, the layouts of each level -- especially the pick-ups -- are placed in such a way that risky behavior is encouraged to maximize your score. There are often trails of "blues" either hidden away in a tunnel or on a path higher above the ground. Same goes for the boosting "yellows," which don't often appear if you're staying on a relatively straight line from level to level.
To keep you engaged, Race the Sun employs an objective system similar to many mobile games. You're always completing three objectives at a time, switching out for new ones as they get completed. These objectives usually consist of completing segments of the level, picking up a certain amount of boosts, using the jump ability a certain amount of times, etc.
Each time you complete three objectives, you gain a level out of 25, each one granting you a different bonus (such as unlocking the various colored pick-ups) or gaining ship configurations like a magnet that lets your ship grab collectibles that are near it rather than having to steer through them.
While Race the Sun is solely a single-player game, it incorporates some rather neat multiplayer options. After each run, you're able to share your progress through a relay point. You can then send this progress to others who are also playing the game to pick up where you left off, as well as keeping the score you amassed. It can't be done infinitely though, as you only get four relay shares, but it's certainly a great way for players to experience some of the later segments.
What's more, every 24 hours, the world resets, meaning you just have a day to learn it as best as you can, and get as far as you possibly can, before the layout changes completely.
For those wanting to extend your game a bit beyond the 24-hour-per-level limit, the game comes with a level editor, which lets you not only create your own levels, but play other players' levels as well. The level editor does take some time to setup, but once you get the hang of it, it's a pretty easy process.
Don't let the look of the game fool you. There is a hardcore and difficult game hidden beneath those simple polygons that will keep you engaged thanks to its highly addicting progress system.