Race the Sun review

Jose Cardoso September 20, 2013 - 5:00 pm

They say it can’t be stopped. You say, “Neither can I.” Determined words for someone about to be left stranded in a race against the unbeatable Sun.

Race the Sun artwork 2

Why chase what can’t be eclipsed? Why try mending the uncorrectable? Evade what’s inescapable? It could only be a dream. Yet something about it feels life-like. Those behaviours and actions, undeterred by the onset of hazards that pull you further away from your destination. As long as you continue in Race the Sun as pilot of a solar-powered vessel, your journey will stay such – destination out of reach while the road remains real in its ongoing struggles.

Against a rival so overbearing, yet upon whom life hinges; a rival that knows not of the very rivalry it’s created, only that it has a singular course to follow. Will knowing that only complete shutdown awaits stop you from chasing your rival to the figurative “ends of the earth”?

It won’t. Not when the threat is too moving to ignore.

Race the Sun screen 2

In symbol of your early beginnings (and, as you’ll discover, failings), your ship comes equipped only with the minimum needed to glide across land in pursuit of the falling Sun. In addition to strafing to avoid incoming obstacles – and obtaining pick-ups through sharp steering – barrel rolls can lessen impact when you foresee yourself nearing destruction – executed by holding in one direction for a while, then switching.

Soon, though, you long to soar through the air, to see all your prospects of possible collectibles in a single motion without being so dazed by the narrow view you catch yourself adhering to out of comfort. But just as you began your quest of ascension… SMASH!

Graceful drop

You know that a challenge as great as this could not be tackled without some ounce of determination – even if it is half-hearted. The sting of defeat from crashes is made almost like a passing suggestion. Soon, it matters not where you are arrested. Instead, you seek to earn your pilot’s badge the way all trainees do – through task completion.

Through these short checklists of up to three tasks, building your experience level will gradually allow you to bypass standard regulations and exercise greater control over your ship’s hull. As comfortable as these preliminary accesses are, you know you won’t truly be content until you’ve proven your worth over a longer period.

Race the Sun screen 5

Off in the distance, you hear the Sun laugh at the mere suggestion – that you could ever catch up to it or that it could even be outrun. Each time the Sun threatens to completely escape your reach, you’re nudged through fear. Fear that as it lowers, approaching horizon level unhesitatingly and with colours fading, within you lies the key to restoring the life your rival derives pleasure in taking away. It’s a sobering realization, but it loses its weight unless near a speed-increasing Booster. Only then does the drive kick in that this is all you have left.

Light-years away

Shadows linger just as prominently as the multi-shaped strangers and buildings, but what they don’t know is that in all their intimidation, in ganging up to create impasses that can’t be ignored, they give you something to prepare for. Clues of darkness, drawn to light by your inattentive rival. I think it caught on after a while that the shadows were actually helping more than undermining, because following a build update, these reference points were no longer active in such outstretched force.

The update did little for the technical standards, though, as the rare defect still surfaces. On two occasions, my ship rammed into an object and rather than bouncing off or getting destroyed, it stayed in place until the Sun was completely out of sight. What’s also gone uncorrected is the more frequent audio troubles, as well as the shifting brightness levels in some areas that create drastic breaks in concentration. Both unkind and distracting.

Race the Sun screen 4

The daily regimen can be considered strict too, as it requires that you be alert to the constant changes in layout that arise from the regular environment fluctuations, though these follow a defined, 24-hour schedule. Yet, next to Trias gems, which gave your ship and score counter fuel, Boosters remain your staples – energy drinks that you’re clammy and slow without.

Gradually, jumps are introduced into your diet, which grant you the wings you’ve always wanted. And when you’re depleted of those, ramps can give you a short reminder of the perspective you’re missing. Temporary though the effect is, you see things much clearly while in flight mode and can reposition yourself to what’s seen off in the distance, as if peeking above the heads in a crowd to find your one opening.

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