A rushed title that needs a lot more development time
Type: Singleplayer, Coop
Genre: Racing, Action
Release Date: 13 Jul, 2020
Light Trail Rush is a racing game where players fly in anti-gravitational spaceships, trying to get the lead. The leader of the race is called “tracer”, because it traces the path where are all other contestant race on. This is the main twist of Light Trail Rush: point-based matches where points are usually gained by being the tracer or launching other players off the track. This interesting idea also makes for different circuits every match, an interesting feature that, if implemented correctly, could give an incredible boost to the game replayability.
Fading Light Trails
While Light Trail Rush figures as a complete game in its Steam store page, a quick look at the game is enough to realize that it still isn’t fully developed: graphics are a bit dull, the game has some technical problems and the overall experience feels a bit iffy. The game is, however, in its beta state, which means that further updates should improve the various aspects where the game is currently lacking. Having ended this short disclaimer, let’s hop into Light Trail Rush single-player mode.
Following the trend of similar games, Light Trail Rush single-player mode consists of a sequence of separate levels, with dialogues acting as glue between each race. Missions are just single races, where sometimes the objective is just to reach the top place, while sometimes goals are a little more creative. While being nothing too exceptional, the single-player campaign succeeds in introducing the player to all the game mechanics, effectively preparing him for the multiplayer matches.
As stated in the “Overview” section, the game is rather simple: the first player draws a path for the other players to follow, while gaining points over time. Points can be also earned by other means (ex. pushing a player down the track), but the main source of points is the tracer position. Races last a finite amount of time: at its end the player with the most points wins. It’s thus important to understand that having the first position at the end of the match doesn’t matter, especially if you’re low on points. Around this racing system there are a few features useful to make the game more interesting: power-ups, for example, are useful to knock down opponents or to gain more speed. These can be stacked and used when needed, in a Mario Kart 8 fashion, so picking up a situational power-up isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since you may find a use for it later.
The main problem I have with power-ups is the lack of imagination that was put in their design: most of them are the same we have already seen over and over, while others, like the autopilot, feel off in a game where thight, high-speed maveouvres are needed to stay on track.
While still on its beta phase, Light Trail Rush shows quite a lot of problems when looking at its technical side, mainly a very rough optimization which, despite the simple graphics, can bring the framerate lower than the 30 fps threshold, making some games unplayable. Connectivity problems are also a thing and you’ll often find your ship not responding, even with a stable connection, something which I find quite serious in a racing game.
Light Trail Rush is a game that needs a lot of work to reach what I think would be a sufficient state. Right now the game has just too many problems, starting from the gameplay and ending to the technical ones. That being said, the game is still under development, so we’ll see what the future will hold.