Platform | Release Date
PC | August 19, 2013
Developed by Flippfly
Published by Flippfly
Race The Sun is a high-speed game that uses simple controls and is set in a procedurally generated world. The goal is to get the highest possible score by racing into the sunset, avoiding obstacles and enemies, and collecting speed boosts and other powerups to help you along the way. You fly a solar-powered craft, and the game ends at sundown, if you can make it that far!
Race the Sun is a title of simplicity and purposeful design. Your only objective as the player is to infinitely race into the setting sun with your solar powered craft, dodging objects along the way as your speed increases and daylight dies. Race the Sun is comparable to other chasing games like Canabalt, but carries with it a racing slant. Unlike other chase games, Race the Sun’s course is created anew every 24hrs offering players a unique “course” every day. There are even daily leaderboards for every new track iteration which makes for a crippling addiction as players strive for the perfect score run through Race the Sun’s treacherous world.
Players can easily settle into Race the Sun thanks to a level system that unlocks game features as you become more acquainted to piloting your craft. As levels unlock, the game evolves the core mechanic by adding intelligent layers of complexity to it. These layers take the form of speed boosts, jumps, and shield pickups that begin to decorate the course and influence player’s flight paths. I soon found myself having to quickly weigh the options of diving between mountains for a speed boost or taking the safer path an ultimately losing out on daylight. Luckily, the controls are very responsive.
You can play Race the sun using your keyboard’s arrow or A and D keys to tilt your craft left and right respectively. There is even a neat option of downloading an app to your smartphone to use as a motion controlled device. I recommend sticking with the keyboard though, as Flippfly did a fantastic job of making your button press very responsive. I found myself really leaning into my keys as I performed hard banking turns across the game fields, and lightly tapping as I made smaller more precise adjustments where finesse was required.
The environment is divisive, taking on a minimalistic approach that many indie games use to supplement a lack of artistry. This is not the case with Race the Sun, though. The world is stark, yet hauntingly beautiful with enough visual information to quickly assess what is happening as your ship careens through the game space with ever increasing speed. Race the Sun offers multiple graphic settings to play in, but picking anything other than the “Fantastic” setting is ill advised. Settings below “Fantastic” do not sport a dynamic lighting and prevent objects from casting shadows. The kind of visual information that should be mandatory in a game about maintaining exposure to the sun.
The audio compliments the game well, however my one issue was the music. It’s passable, but I felt it’s a missed opportunity to not have a jukebox option available in game. I often played tracks in the background that I felt better fit the gameplay than the chosen soundtrack. The same music track is used for every race; some variety would have been nice. This is doubly true for the “Apocalypse” mode where the calm music is out of place in a race mode designed to kill you.
The regions that make up Race the Sun’s daily courses offer a lot of variety and equal amounts of treachery. At one moment you are comfortably flying past a forest of ominous pillars. The next you are in a busy metropolis dodging zeppelins that shoot lasers and rockets that crash before you in explosions made of pure light. There are even portals scattered through the region that take you to user generated worlds. These player created regions really change up the race by having you dodge asteroids in space or navigate some bizarre technicolor dream sequence.
I enjoyed Race the Sun much more than I anticipated going in. It’s a sublime experience that is simultaneously relaxing and exhilarating. The perfect game that you can play as a quick diversion or serious time investment, and a title I’ll return to with the rising of each new sun.
As of this writing, Race the Sun has been fully released and is currently being voted to be included inSteam’s Project Greenlight.