Quick take: Race the Sun for iPad

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IMG_0642Race the Sun is a twitchy endless flyer that is somehow calming at the same time. In the game you pilot a super-fast hovercraft (think one of the speeders from the original Star Wars) across an alien landscape, dodging rocks, boulders, and man-made obstacles to get as far as you can. Your ship is solar-powered, so you need to clear each level, as the sun goes down, before you run out of sunlight. You can pick up extra time by running over “tris” or blue orbs of power. As you clear a level and enter the next, the sun rises again, giving you a new lease on life. The graphics are monochromatic with the exception of the tris and other bonus-providing objects you can run over. The shapes are not-quite-natural geometric forms, and the shapes of the objects and greyscale coloration add a zen-like feeling to the game play.

IMG_0644Speaking of which, the controls are very easy, and you have only two: tap on the right side of the screen to veer right, and the same on the left. While I would have preferred gyro controls as in many driving games, the tap-to-turn controls work well. I did tap on the bezel sometimes, missing a turn and crashing to my death into a monolith. Besides the many blue orbs that offer bonuses, there are other colored objects that provide special abilities when you run over them: for example the ability to make a longggg jump over obstacles.

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I enjoyed Race the Sun and found myself picking it up when I had a few minutes to kill. One significant flaw makes it somewhat frustrating for long game play, however: you always start back at the beginning. So no matter how many levels I cleared, I started back at level 1. Thus Level 1 became boring in a hurry and I’d find myself tiring of it after 10-15 minutes. Still, for a few-minutes time waster, it’s big fun. And the designers deserve kudos for not distracting you with in-app purchase nonsense. Race the Sun is $4.99 in the app store, and that’s a fair price for an ad-free game of this caliber.

 


Marc Luoma

I'm an iPad, and iPhone enthusiast, Mac user since '84, world traveler, dog and cat lover, living in Kigali Rwanda for a year.

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