Despite the popularity of hardcore realistic racing simulations, a large fanbase has always existed for less-realistic racing games. Whether they’re automobile racers that play fast and loose with gravity and physics, such as the beloved Daytona USA series, or ones of a more sci-fi bent such as Wipeout. Flippfly’s upcoming time/score attack hovercraft bonanza Race the Sun falls squarely in the second category and it looks like it’ll serve fans of the genre very well.
Race the Sun is a stylistic jet racer built around a gameplay hook that its name suggests: during every race, the sun is constantly going down, and as your Arwing-looking spacecraft runs on solar power, you try to get as far as possible through artsy, black-and-white landscapes before the sun sets and your ship runs dry. While you don’t have to worry about other racers interfering with your good times (because let’s face facts, AI opponents in most racing games are the worst), you do have to contend with environmental hazards such as mountains, weird falling pillar things, and the inevitable onset of dusk. Luckily, you have options: every time you advance to another high score tier, you unlock a new power-up to help enhance your racing experience, such as score boosters and time increasers to delay sunset.
The graphics and sound suit the game’s setting and action excellently. Well-crafted shadows fall over everything (and when you fly through them, you lose more solar energy) and the stark greyscale worlds really emphasize the danger the sun poses by making the sun one of a handful of colored objects, alongside the power-ups. Ambient-but-upbeat electronic music accompanies your races, setting the mood perfectly for the abstract landscapes you find yourself propelled through. Really, my only complaint is that the controls take some getting used to. Your turn sensitivity depends on your speed, and as soon as you find yourself adjusting to the turning radius of a slower-moving vehicle, you speed up and have to adjust to much tighter handling. A minor quibble, and one that will surely fade when you spend more time with it.
If you’re a fan of unique art direction, high speed F-Zero-esq action, indie games, or all three, then don’t let Race the Sun fly under your radar. A creation kit for new courses is available to extend the fun and the core gameplay is enough to keep anyone with quick reflexes amused. If you’re a racing fan in need of a change of pace, hop on over to Steam Greenlight and up-vote this head-turner.