Travis gives this a solid "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
Travis gives this a "Rad" on the Ghost Scale
This is fun, with very few issues, and is well worth your time.
There's a bit of a theme for me today eh? Two racing games! A Day at the Races continues with Lightfield HYPER Edition! A big thanks to the folks at Lost in the Garden for providing us with review keys!

Lightfield HYPER Edition isn't exactly a racing game. There are races, yes, and that's the main focus, but sometimes this feels more like the parkour of Mirror's Edge or trick lines in the Tony Hawk games than a racing game.

You control a ship that can defy gravity and fly through the air, or snap to surfaces. You gain speed while snapped, and quickly lose speed when you aren't snapped, so the goal is to get from checkpoint to checkpoint in the most efficient path, while staying on surfaces as much as possible. Each track has the standard race challenge, but also others that have you pull off ledge jumps, rotations, find collectibles, etc.

The controls are simple, well-executed, and mostly intuitive. You're going to crash a lot and make some bad moves, but you never feel that the game is fighting against you. Basically you use the analog stick to steer, the trigger to accelerate, and a face button to snap. Those are all the controls you have, and they're all you need.

The first track is intense but mostly in two dimensions. Once you progress to the second track, you will quickly have no idea which way is up. In fact, it's best to just try to forget the concept of up and down. Just find the nearest surface that gets you to the next checkpoint and HOLD ON. But that difficulty curve ramps up fast, and that may be my biggest complaint with the game. I felt very lost on the second track. But that's the kind of game this is: it doesn't hold your hand at all and throws you in the deep end, for better or worse. Mostly better, I think. It pushes you to practice on the previous levels until you really get the gameplay, and then introduce new concepts on that solid base.

Lightfield is frustrating at times. Not in a bad way, but in an "I really want to get this right" way. Back to Mirror's Edge, if you've played this you know how a parkour run can just crash and burn when you miss a jump or a grab, and that same feeling grabs you in the gut when you miss a snap in Lightfield. But when you pull it off, it's a great feeling, and this frustration/satisfaction loop makes the gameplay really addictive. Time trial mode is a single lap that just keeps repeating, and I think I probably went about 30 rounds without stopping once, trying to get my run just right.

The other challenges interested me less. None of them are bad or boring, but I LOVE the time trials and races. They're a good way to break the intensity but I didn't put as much effort into doing as well as possible on those.

The visuals and soundtrack are very compelling, and fit the game perfectly. This is a very stylized game that perhaps resembles an updated Star Fox low-poly look, but with some intense 80s color schemes. The soundtrack, composed by Zanshin, complements the sci-fi vibe and helps drive the intensity of the gameplay.

If you're looking for a very non-traditional indie racing game, this might just be your jam. It is for me.

Keep an eye out for another review of Lightfield HYPER Edition coming soon, by our friendly neighborhood monster from the Upside Down, Timogorgon!