Time is running out. The sun is setting. Race The Sun.
Race The Sun is an Endless Runner for PC. The game is developed by Flippfly who previously developed Monkey Drum.
You play as a solar-powered craft hurtling towards the sun at break-neck speed, but the world is against you. The sun is slowly falling from the sky. Objects scattered around each region are casting shadows which sap you like poison. You can’t beat the sun. Not yet, at least.
Race The Sun starts as a minimalistic, simplistic game which has little depth. Your ship can move left and right to dodge obstacles and you can collect blue triangle pick-ups called “Tris” – these get you points. Slowly, the game opens up. At the end of each run, you are shown the three current challenges you face – each with a number of challenge points. Above the three challenges is the number of challenge points required to gain a level. Each time you gain a level, you open up a new part of the game. Slowly, you’ll be introduced to sun pick-ups which wrestle the sun back up into the sky, boosters with a varying array of effects and ship upgrades which help in your race against time – such as a magnet to catch pick-ups from further away or a battery to survive longer with no sun. The game is split into regions which contain distinct sets of obstacles and respite zones between regions, in which a butterfly will drop you Tris and a single pick-up or booster.
Race The Sun has you dodging obstacles. Much like the initial state of the game, in the first region, they’re simple. As you advance regions, obstacles begin to move. Moving obstacles are coloured red and are easy to spot, but the direction or pattern they’ll move in isn’t always so easy to figure out. Moving obstacles aren’t the only trick the game has up its sleeve to ensure you fail. Some regions are based on shadows and will funnel you down difficult paths and fishing out a mistake, or pressuring you into the shadows where you’ll slow to a halt without sunlight. Shadows aren’t the only way to lose sunlight. As you race the sun, it can eventually reach the point where the sun sets, rendering you incapable of moving unless you manage to find a sun pick-up.
Challenges in Race The Sun range from completing a number of regions to completing regions with specific criteria set – such as only turning right – to travelling a certain distance or obtaining a number of points. At any given time, you will usually have one “easy” challenge which can be completed mainly through time investment. But these challenges only give a single challenge point, which doesn’t go far – especially later in the game. There are also “medium” and “hard” challenges, which give two and three points respectively, but are much more difficult to complete, usually involving specific criteria and often having to be completed in the confines of one round of play.
Interestingly, regions don’t randomly generate each and every time. Race The Sun instead opts for having regions spawn once every twenty-four hours. Why is this interesting? Well, let’s say you managed to progress to a certain point, then later beat that progress. Was it beaten through skill or luck? In a traditional endless runner, it could be hard to tell. You might have gotten a far easier run than the one before, or you may have performed much better than previously. The great thing about the system used here is that you’re tackling the same obstacles time and time again within each twenty-four hour period, so any progress made is more likely to have been skill-based. This alone has caused the game to hold us tighter than any endless runner ever has.
Apocalypse mode is for the truly masochistic. Taking cues from the later stages of Race The Sun mode and turning the dial-up until it will turn no more, players are immediately challenged with obstacles that require more precision to surpass and a larger amount of obstacles. No quarter is given in this mode and you shouldn’t play it if you’re easily frustrated.
Players can also create their own worlds in Race The Sun. In your world, you can modify every little detail you could hope for, changing things such as the colour of the sky and ground, the speed, size and movement of the player, the type of objects your world contains and the pattern in which they appear – even to the point of adding one of many pre-programmed events.
Race The Sun allows players to create their own worlds, allowing users to create sadistic road maps, or relaxing jaunts that allow the player to just enjoy the speed. As always, there will be creative users who manage to do something interesting that we’ve never thought of. A trackmania-style specific-route run comes to mind.
The music in Race The Sun is excellent, with only one fault. The player. If the player is in a situation where they’re failing over and over again, it can become somewhat grinding to hear the same song over and over. Each region has its own soundtrack, with an extra song being played when the sun has almost set.
Visually, the game is minimalistic. With a spanning grey landscape, Race The Sun makes use of shadows to add depth. Most objects on the landscape are also grey, casting varying degrees of shadow upon the land, but objects which move are coloured red, helping the user immediately differentiate them. Pick-ups add a bit of colour to the land, contrasting the vast grey abyss cast below the vibrant yellow sun. Apocalypse mode differentiates itself from Race The Sun mode by setting the sky on fire, shaken with the white flash of missiles crashing into the ground.
Race The Sun has some options, allowing you to separately adjust music and sound effects, basic graphical options, changing the overall quality, resolution and windowed mode. You can also completely re-bind the controls of the game. Control pads are supported in the game.
A lot is done to make the game fun and keep you coming back, but sometimes you’re given incredibly difficult challenges that may be way beyond your level. Sadly, there is no option to skip said challenges in favour of getting a new random challenge. As previously mentioned, if you’re doing particularly badly at the game, the music can sometimes become irritating. While the world reset keeps things fresh, it would be nice if you could opt out. Being able to constantly challenge the same level has its advantages too – until you beat it.
While Race The Sun is still an endless runner that challenges the player with collecting as many points as possible, the journey is more interesting and has more depth than expected. Many featured have been added to keep the game fresh, and to set it apart from the crowd.. Race The Sun is suited to both short bursts of play and extended sessions.. At 6.99GBP, the game is reasonably priced and we highly recommend it.