Indie showcase: Nitronic Rush

If you take Skyroads, add a dash of Tron, mix in a smidgen of Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed and top it off with a bit of F-Zero, what are you likely to get? A lovable abomination that will exhibit more than a passing resemblance to Nitronic Rush, probably.

Developed by our ever-nimble friends at the DigiPen Institute, Nitronic Rush is a stunt-racer not unlike the Trials series; players are tasked with speeding down an obstacle course while performing completely off-the-wall tricks to surmount the dangers ahead. This game is lavishly soaked in cyberpunk sensibility, with an overdose of neon lighting and a suitably electronic soundtrack.

The player’s car is equipped with various gadgets that wouldn’t be out of place in a James Bond movie. Buttons will cause the vehicle to instantly sprout wings or hop like a frog. Giant gaping chasms litter the roadway, as well as devious spikes and barriers that pop up with nary a second’s notice. Be assured, this game will mercilessly expend your reflexes.

Control-wise, things feel a little… floaty. Particularly when you want to perform a wall-climb. The game is best experienced with a controller, which helps, but a bit of fine-tuning would have helped make this title all the more enjoyable.

There’s a story mode – something about your car being in a computer mainframe, corrupted by a malignant virus – but I believe I speak for all gamers out there when I say that we honestly don’t give a toss. The appeal of the title is the twitchy gameplay, absorbing ambiance and undeniable “just-one-more-try” charm.

There’s a story campaign available, though it’s quite short. The last levels really up the ante and make extensive use of flying sections and elimination of checkpoints. If you thought it was too easy, there’s a hardcore mode which punishes players into performing nigh-impossible tricks. Challenge and trick modes round off the experience and add playtime.

Rush on over this way to infect your PC with a copy of the game. Do you swing the way of Linux or Mac? Sorry, no love for you, unless you do it Windows-style.