Developer(s) – Flippfly
First appearing as a Kickstarter project, and having a budget of merely $20,000 attached to it, Race the sun is an endless runner game with a strong element of the Star Fox series attached to it, but like it, providing gamers with infinite replayability and a decent amount of challenge. Though I did find a couple of faults with the title, I did also find it to be pretty entertaining, and I would recommend it to any fan of the series looking for a new test.
Graphics – 7/10
For the small budget that this game had attached to it, the visuals were fairly well handled, and the limited textural detail allows for it to run pretty smoothly on consoles, with a sharp 60 fps frame rate. The best looking element in the game is the sunset in the distance throughout each run of the game. It’s vibrant and captivating as well as pretty realistic. The biggest complaint I have is that not much more time seems to have spent by the developers thinking a little bit more about the conceptual design of the game, since the surrounding scenery is largely bland for the most part.
Gameplay – 8/10
Though the main objective is to simply last as long in each run as possible, whilst collecting power-ups on the way to keep the sun from setting, along with items collected to increase the high score and maximum points multiplier, each run is kept fresh by giving players side missions, involving the fulfilment of certain criteria, which in turn, unlocks upgrades for the player’s ship, such as increased magnetic attraction to items or sharper turning. Despite repetition, the game has the ability to keep players entertained for an extraordinarily long time, and become extremely satisfying once the player has mastered the game’s basic mechanics.
Controls – 10/10
At first, I did think that the turning mechanics were far too stiff, and that such a drawback was largely unnecessary. But once I acquired the turn upgrade, and when I realized that it was all part of the challenge, I quickly changed my perception o the game overall. There are no other issues with the controls to address, and is a huge part of why it can become so incredibly satisfying to play.
Originality – 6/10
The worst aspect of the game is how little it is able to stand out among even games of its own genre. With Star Fox for example, there are quite a lot of cultural references in its conceptual design, which were inspired largely by Japanese mythology. But with Race the Sun, the only cultural references that can be found are in the various different taglines that appear before the start of each run; one of which being “do a barrel roll”, referencing Star Fox itself. The gameplay does have a little bit of originality about it, but its easy to put this down to the developer’s limited budget, and them wanted to concentrate mostly on gameplay, which I am in favour of, so I don’t think it should lose out on too much many points in this category.
Overall, despite it’s lack of conceptual design, Race the Sun is pretty fun and addictive game to play. To me, it is a fairly good example of how a developer’s imagination can play a bigger role in a video game than however much it may have cost to make it.