Art Style: light trax - First Impressions

posted 24 May 2010, 14:46 by Knuckles Sonic8   [ updated 24 May 2010, 14:53 ]
Wii | Racing | Nintendo | 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 600 Nintendo Points

Art Style: light trax is a single-player racing game that constantly shifts between 2D and 3D views. There are four different selections on the Main Menu. 'Light Races' and 'Light Tours' allows you to tackle individual stages or a series of tracks, respectively. The 'Freeway' is where you'll explore different routes or set a distance record within a given time limit. You also have the ability to  see a demonstration of how to play the game.

    You take control of a white line of light that's racing against other coloured beams to reach the finish line first. The top-right of the screen shows your time, lap number, and a heart icon representing your health. For every hit sustained (by crashing into an obstacle), you'll lose a heart. If you lose them all, you'll be disqualified from the race. Travelling along a path beside another line will enable you to rack up boost power, and pressing the 2 Button will give you a temporary speed increase. Tracks feature heart icons, boost panels, panels that will force you to travel along a different path, patches that will slow you down, and boost pick-ups that can be activated on demand. 

    Each invisible vertical/horizontal path can only carry one light beam at a time, meaning that if you try to cut someone off to overtake them, they'll be forced to move to a different path. Learning how the racing mechanics function is important to succeeding, and after one or two races, I further understood how to play. It's very pick-up-and-play and with each stage recording your best record, I can already foresee a good chunk of replay value existing in the game. Each race starts off slow but as you charge up boosts and overtake opponents, your light will travel at a faster speed.

It seems as though there are 15 individual stages in total and the ones I've played thus far are of good length. When you clear a tour in 1st place, you'll unlock a new route on the Freeway. You'll need to access the route and reach a specific destination before time runs out so you can enter the new tour. I've really enjoyed my travels along the 3D Freeway so far. It reminds me of a digital information highway with branching paths that can only be accessed once certain conditions have been met. Of course, the mechanic of travelling beside lines to rack up boost power still carries over here, but here you can travel at really fast speeds after having built up a great deal of energy. You can just as easily crash into other light beams on the track and suffer a loss in energy, so you have to pay attention and even look ahead for what's coming up. Not only is this mode just as fun, but it's also very relaxing. Making my way to the new tour I unlocked led me along a sub-pathway that was actually quite exciting with different special effects.

    Just like in the other WiiWare entries in this series, you can adjust the contrast to either darken or brighten the lights. Either way, the visuals look great and have a strong cyber feel to them. The songs I've heard so far are really good, with one or two being quite addicting to listen. This is quickly vying to become my favourite Art Style game and I look forward to seeing how I feel about the whole thing as I make even more progress. A full review will be available soon here on!