Despite its simplistic visuals and controls, Race the Sun is one of the most entertaining endless runners in recent memory.
There’s something undeniably poetic about controlling a solar-powered ship that’s flying towards the horizon and avoiding obstacles as the sun sets. Regardless of how long you can fly your ship, each run will undoubtedly end with your aircraft crashing into an obstacle or running out of power, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t try over and over.
Race the Sun is a remarkably simple game and that’s what makes it so engaging. The controls, for instance, allow you to move from left to right and jump when you collect the green power-up that lets you leap into the clouds for a few seconds. You use those controls to avoid the obstacles that get in your way, including constructions such as walls, obelisks, tunnels, towers and windmills, but that’s more than enough to keep you hooked for hours. The fact that the game’s going to be completely different a few hours from now is also a significant attraction.
See, Race the Sun is a procedurally-generated game whose environments automatically change once every 24 hours and that means that all the points you accrue go to the leaderboards which also reset once a day. Should you get tired of the available level, you can always download user-created environments which include everything from futuristic cities, minimalist forests and a faithful recreation of Tatooine. As you’d expect, the game comes with a level editor where you can start levels from scratch and post them for the world to enjoy.
But you can play hours and hours and never touch the level editor because the content that’s included in the game is more than enough. You start in Race the Sun mode where you move your solar-powered craft towards the sunset, at the same time you avoid obstacles and the shadows that they project. As you progress through the game, you collect points and your most successful run is posted in the worldwide leaderboards for everyone to see and try to beat.
In the levels, you’ll see glowing pyramids that grant you bonus points and these go to the multiplier. Apart from extra points, you can also collect a speed boost and a jump. Additionally, there are bonus goals you can complete to level up and these range from scoring a specific number of points, do barrel rolls and clear regions without colliding. As you level up, you unlock additional attachments for your ship and extra game modes.
If there’s anything certain about Race the Sun is that death is inevitable, but it always come when you least expect it which is why you always hit the retry button as soon as you helplessly crash into a building or run out of energy. Despite the inevitable end, Race the Sun is always entertaining to play and that’s because you’re always working towards a specific goal: you might want to beat someone in the leaderboards or maybe you want to unlock a specific mode. Of course, the procedurally-generated nature of this game makes it fresh and entertaining, even if the mechanics never change.
Despite its simplistic visuals and controls, Race the Sun is one of the most entertaining endless runners in recent memory. This is a hypnotic, elegant, demanding and ever-changing arcade game that’s pure adrenaline.