This reviewer isn't a fan of Line Rider Freestyle. There, that's out the way. My previous reviews will tell you dear reader that I've been very positive about other independent games, but I just can't warm to this particular one. It doesn't help that it's just an updated version of a flash game, especially when it comes with a £14.99 price tag.
It's a steep price for what's basically the same thing with prettier graphics, sound effects and a 'story mode' which restricts the creative nature of the original flash game.
Now I better stop ranting and get on with describing what the game is actually about before you start to think I'm some sort of rageaholic.
The concept is simple – it's your responsibility to get a little guy on a sledge gets from the top of a course to the bottom. Sounds simple doesn't it? And it is...sort of. When building you're own courses from scratch it's a case of drawing a downhill route from top to bottom. For the unimaginative this can be a straight 45 degree line. For those with a bit more creativity there's the option to try and add jumps, loop the loops and lot's of pretty colours. It's Quite simple but it can take some time to get your head round if you're unfamiliar with the free internet version. To be honest you could probably decide whether you like Line Rider or not by playing it here
OK, you may enjoy the free version and the idea of additional features in a full game may sound appealing. Sure there are some more things to add to tracks but that isn't really worth the asking price. Your hard earned (or maybe not if you're a millionaire/student/fraudster) cash is most likely paying for the 'Story Mode' This is a lot like freestyle mode – except there's less to do.
The aim of the game is still to get from one end of a course to the other, except this time the courses are mostly pre-rendered with the previously mentioned pretty colours and snowy mountain top backgrounds. However this time you don't have full control over where lines are drawn and you HAVE to pass through certain points to complete each level. Even worse is that you can only draw lines in certain areas marked out by green boxes. This all gets frustrating very quickly.
Tweaking the curvature and angles of the same line again and again isn't fun. Maybe it'd be OK if there was a wider margin for success but the slightest error in a curve or the smallest bump and your little guy won't make it to the end of the course but will either grind to a halt or fall off the track and into what presumably would be an icy grave at the bottom of a crevasse.
It's possible to actually wish an untimely end for your little chap – the sound's he makes while riding the sledge up and down the course are VERY annoying. I'm not sure what's worse – the screaming when they're having fun (or falling to their doom) or the yawning when they've stopped. Either way, there's no way to shut them up so you'll just have to put up with it. The music isn't much easier on the ears either. At least the 'story' animations between stages are pleasant enough because the game play is far from it.
It's nice that – if they so desire – players can share their custom built tracks with others online and this is probably where the appeal of Line Rider lies. But then again if you want to play on custom tracks you can just make your own.
I'd suggest you play on the free flash version of the game to get a feel for it. If you like it then fair enough, feel free to spend your money on the retail version. However, I personally believe that it isn't worth parting with that much money for what's essentially a flash game with some added colours and a story mode that's more likely to cause stress than pleasure. Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticising the original flash game here – it's the retail version of Line Rider that this review is about. Unfortunately this version Line Rider feels too much like work to be counted as fun - spend the £14.99 asking price on something else that is.