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Race the Sun Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Race the Sun is a fast-paced surprise that should demands to be played each and every day. With a great sense of speed, addictive gameplay and levels that change every 24 hours, this is one of the most exhilarating games of the year. Race the Sun is not to be missed. Rating: 85%
Race the Sun
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  • Review Score:

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Some games really know how to make a first impression. From the moment I saw my silver jet get flung into the monochromatic horizon, I knew I would find myself hopelessly sucked into the world of Race the Sun. And wouldn't you know it, I was right. After several hours of not being able to take my gaze off of the screen, I found that I not only beat the game, but immediately starting the whole thing all over again.

Long story short: You pilot a solar-powered airplane that is navigating its way through a hellish landscape full of falling blocks and spikey forests. With no control over the craft's speed, players barrel forward dodging obstacles, picking up helpful power-ups and seeing how far they can get before the sun finally sets in the distance. Special items allow the flying ship to jump, but for the most part players can only move left and right.

Race the Sun (PS Vita)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Each round is only meant to last a few minutes, usually with the pilot slamming the craft into a wall or misjudging a jump. If the player is skilled (or lucky), they might miss all of the obstacles and simply run out of juice when the sun goes down. And while there are speed boosts to grab along the way, it's only a matter of time before the sun wins the race.

Knowing that death is inevitable, it's the pilot's mission to pick up as many colored pyramids as possible. These floating objects are scattered throughout the race course, and collecting them will increase the score multiplier and lead to a bigger score. However, if the flying craft bounces off any other objects, the multiplier goes away and it's back to picking up pyramids.

Beyond racing for points, there are also a series of challenges to complete. Sometimes you'll be asked to jump a certain amount of times, bounce off of a few objects or pick up a whole bunch of pyramids. Many of the challenges are fairly easy, but a few will actually require a lot of patience. One of the tasks forces the pilot to only turn left, which can make navigating the obstacle course a real pain.

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Completing these challenges will unlock new perks and customization options, making each subsequent run a little easier. Players will be able to add up to three attachments to the ship, which includes the ability to suck in nearby power-ups with a magnet, carry more items and survive longer in shadows. Wing badges will also unlock as the player ranks up, though they offer no noticeable gameplay improvement.

While the courses seem impossible at first, players will quickly memorize different paths and tricks that will help them make it further into the level. But memorization will only get you so far, because the entire map is randomly generated every 24 hours. This also comes with a leaderboard reset, encouraging fans of the game to play a new course each and every day.

For those looking for an even tougher challenge, Race the Sun offers two unlockable modes that will test your skills and reflexes. Apocalypse features a blood red sky and unrelenting obstacles. Players zip through the level at breakneck speed with almost no chance of survival, making it all the more satisfying when you earn a high score. Labyrinth mode is a slightly different change of pace, forcing players to navigate their way through a complex world full of puzzles. It's a slower mode, but no less intense.

Race the Sun (PS Vita)Click For the Full Picture Archive

As much fun as the two extra modes are, it's disappointing that they didn't come with their own challenges. After I had reached level 25, there wasn't much to compel me to race Apocalypse every day. With their own unique challenges, I suspect I would have put many more hours into both modes. As it is, they feel like novelties.

The art style is very simple, reminding me of the early days of 3D polygonal graphics. The style will remind many people of Star Fox on the Super NES or many early Atari Jaguar games. The world is almost entirely painted in grays, with only the occasional glimpse of a different color. I like the washed-out look, but wish there was an option to change themes. I would love to see what the course looks like in a light blue or orange. Most of the color is saved for the Apocalypse course, and even that felt like a missed opportunity.

Apart from complaints about the simple color palette, Race the Sun is a stunning accomplishment that is a brand new experience every single day. Few games are able to match the sense of speed presented here, making this one of the most exhilarating releases of the year. Just don't expect to win, because the sun is a crafty racer.
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