Wednesday, August 4, 2010

ArtStyle: Light Trax review

Written by pikaby

A trippy arcade-style experience that perfectly defines the racing genre

Mention the word 'racing' to any gamer and the immediate thought would be of cars driving around on roads, each trying to reach the finish line before the rest. For the past few generations, it's not just the cars that have been racing, game developers have long been 'racing' against each other to have the flashiest, most realistic graphics , the largest number of licensed cars, and the most accurate physics, to the point where they forget the true essence of what a racing game should be- reaching the finish line.

ArtStyle :Light Trax is the game to remind people of the purity of the rules of racing games. There are no cars, or tarmac roads, or hairpins, suspensions or fuel, it's just you, a beam of light, racing against other beams of light to reach the finish line. The style is reminiscent of many ancient arcade games, yet manages to feel fresh and relevant. It's abstract, colorful, and fluid.

Reaching the goal is as simple as avoiding obstacles while hanging by closely to your opponents to build up a boost meter, which when fully filled gives you a speed boost. Simple items litter the tracks, a boost,extra health point and invincibility. It's all so simple you'd wonder why no one thought of this before. And seeing your line go from a simple 2D plane to sideways and upside-down 3D plane is pretty fascinating.

There are five 'light tours' spanning 15 different tracks, and while the first few are relatively boring and uneventful the challenge quickly ramps up, as does the awe-inspiring electro soundtrack, which will linger in your head for days (the music from the final light tour bring back meaning to the word 'radical'). It's over pretty soon though, and after completing it there's not much to keep you coming back since high scores and best times aren't easily beaten due to the rigid turns the beams of light make. There's also a Tron-esque and pointless Freeway mode which you'll have to use to traverse from one light tour to the next. (and after seeing all five tours there's nothing to do in it).

Despite being pretty short, ArtStyle: Light Trax is a wonderful aesthetic experience and as a racing game, is decently challenging and a whole lot of fun. It's definitely worth the 600 points.

Score: 9/10
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