Clearly Star Fox and Temple Run got drunk one night and hitched up together, because Race The Sun is very obviously the resultant offspring.
But seriously. Race The Sun is a clean, clear-looking mash-up between an endless runner and a simple racer, with aesthetics that appear as if they’re an evolved version of what would have been found on Nintendo’s classic 16-bit system.
Players take control of a solar-powered, bird-shaped vehicle and pilot it at breakneck speeds through an abstract landscape. As the name so aptly implies, it is literally a race against the sun; that life-sustaining ball of nuclear fission will slowly descend across the sky, and once it dips below the horizon, it’s game over for you. Power-ups scattered across the landscape will momentarily reverse the sun’s trajectory and buy you a few precious extra seconds, but it’s merely delaying the inevitable. You will die: it’s just a matter of how much score you can rack up and how many regions you can clear before you meet your demise.
The landscape itself isn’t static, but instead behaves as a living entity, complete with moving objects, flowing particles and hazards that stretch out, simply begging to put an untimely end to your speedy ways. Shady areas will cause your ship’s power to cut out, so they’re best avoided – a task that becomes increasingly difficult as the sun reaches the horizon and causes all the shadows to elongate. Hidden in the regions are secret gateways that provide a shortcut to another dimension reminiscent of an asteroid field.
You’re going to die a lot, but the experience never reaches frustration because the ambience is so mesmerizing, what with the supersonic gameplay, catchy music and bright, attractive graphics.
Like any modern game worth its salt, there are achievements and daily challenges to unlock. These assume the form of arbitrary actions, such as only steering left for an entire region or obtaining a certain number of power-ups. If you think you’re hardcore, you can have a stab at an “apocalypse mode” which pulls out all the stops and seeks to punish you like a twisted dominatrix having a bad day. An online leaderboard ensures that your endeavors are immortalized.
If you think Race The Sun could be your flight of fancy, race on over here to procure your copy. It’s available on Steam, but there’s also DRM-free builds available for Windows, OS X and Linux, so aren’t you the lucky ones. To simultaneously whet your appetite and enjoy some hilarity, check out this video which is a combination of a trailer and record of players’ reactions: