Race The Sun is slick. Just look at the screenshots and you’ll notice how the light cascades across the silver solar-powered aircraft. Ah, see – now I’ve added that snippet of information, you understand why the game is called what it is. Should that Sun go down, then you’ll not be going anywhere – it’s game over. Similarly, you can crash into the many different obstacles that cause you to blow up instantly, considering the speed you’re travelling at. You can, however, sometimes get away with just a scuff, and that only depletes the multiplier you’ve accumulated.
“Intense action that could be described as a mashup of “Star Fox” and “Temple Run” with a community focus.”
Though Race The Sun is a minimalist arcade racer, there’s a lot planned for it still, and that is why Flippfly, the developers, have taken to Kickstarter in order to fund the game. You don’t have to feel cold about this, though, as they supply an alpha demo on Kongregate, which is getting updated at times. And should you enjoy that, and I expect you to, then you may consider upvoting the game over on Steam Greenlight if you can’t afford to help them out the crowdfunding route.
There was a small moment as I was playing Race The Sun that really stuck out and made me almost fall in love with the damn thing. As you get better at dodging the pillars of rock and the odd alien creatures that travel across the screen, soon you’ll get to sun down and see all of the long shadows appear. There’s not much there in terms of art assets, but that’s what makes the stark lighting so neat to look at – it is gorgeous. Of course, when you first get this far, you’re going to come to a fairly abrupt halt as the solar power dwindles and you’re left alone in the nippy desert.
Race The Sun wants you to get here many times, but for it to take longer for you to do so, and with a better score on each occasion. The better your scores are, the more you unlock in the game, and these include various power-ups like a speed boost and briefly turning back time so the Sun takes longer to come down. It’s all about getting that high score, and it’s an oddly compelling experience. Flippfly want to add a lot more to the game, though, and it’s not just extra power-ups either.
“Powerful world-creation tools will be included right in the game, allowing anyone to make interesting new game modes (or modify existing ones) and share them in a special “user worlds” screen in the game for all to see.”
So extra features planned for Race The Sun include full modding tools so that players can create a vast array of different content for the game. One criticism that’s easily levelled at the alpha version is the lack of variety in the environment, so having users add these kinds of requested changes and additions is a smart move. There will be User World Portals that appear during your normal run of the game that you can go into if you choose and check out a wild creation from one of the community – that will certainly help to mix things up.
Another mode is planned, which will focus more on allowing players to upgrade their ship and change its parts so that it handles differently and can travel at a faster speed. The most interesting add-on proposed, if you ask me, is the co-op multiplayer. How this works is like a relay race. Once you come to the end of a session a hyperlink is created that someone can pick up and carry off with the “lifeforce” that you had. Very odd and pretty neat if you can track how each other person is doing.
So a beautiful minimalist game, with some cool community features planned and an engaging gameplay mode already, even in the alpha. What’s not to love? Kickstarter rewards are pretty typical – the game at a discount, soundtrack, art prints and helping out with various parts of the development as a producer. Go and donate what you can – would love to see this game expand properly.