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Line Rider: Freestyle (Nintendo DS) Review

Review for Line Rider: Freestyle on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

All too often it is the simplest concepts that make for the greatest games. This is most certainly true for one of the Internet community's favourites, Line Rider. Originally created by a Slovenian university student, Line Rider enjoyed time as a basic flash freebie on the 'net, until an upgraded version was pounced on by InXile Entertainment, with work beginning on a Wii/DS release shortly thereafter. On paper, bringing a physics-based title made for quick play and reliant on an artistry interface to the DS seems like a marriage made in heaven, but does it draw out that way?

Freestyle stays true to its genetics, with the task of designating a path for a sledding character to follow, although the game certainly runs with this concept. Upon startup, you're prompted to enter an online identity for your DS for later use, after which you're brought to the main menu. Story mode is the top of the list and the first port of call, as nestled within it is the game's tutorial. Though it's extremely helpful, Freestyle's tutorial does not give any indication as to the true variety of the game, as what you'll see is strictly barebones. This works in the story mode's favour, however, and it is a very different tale elsewhere.

Grainy and slightly muffled animated cutscenes, much like those of Square-Enix's Final Fantasy remakes, tell the story of your slider, Bosh, as he races down courses and overcomes obstacles left by the Dick Dastardly of the game, Chaz, in the hopes of winning the heart of fair maiden Bailey. To help him do so you have to fill in the blank highlighted areas of the course with the right choice of path, drawn the correct way. With many ways for the physics to act on the paths you create, and a selection of three lines to draw (normal, slow and fast), not to mention tokens to collect for rewards later on and targets to pass through to beat levels, there is a lot of trial and error involved here. Luckily the interface holds up well to this demand, as drawing and editing paths could not be simpler, with a choice of freehand or assisted curves; the exception is in deleting segments of line, which requires a fair bit of icon navigation, but even this soon becomes second nature. Throughout this mode and all others, hints and tips for your selected tools and what you can do with them are displayed on the touch screen, so aside from figuring out the best path for the situation, there is little to halt progress. Story mode offers eight acts, each with five challenge courses, so with these and the many different ways to complete each, tokens collected or not, it will take a while to finish. Even then, Freestyle offers much more, and nowhere is this shown better than in Freestyle mode itself.

Screenshot for Line Rider: Freestyle on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Those of you familiar with the free online version of Line Rider will find themselves instantly at home in Freestyle mode, though it offers so much more. Alongside the basic minimum of story's offerings, here you'll have access to six more types of line, such as the self-explanatory trampoline or a trigger that can activate set effects like zoom and Tony Hawk-style tricks. You can pick up and place pieces of environment - here referred to as clipart - around the level to add character and scenery to your track; you can also do this on multiple layers of the level with the parallax layers feature, used to create the illusion of 3D depth seen in many classic 2D games. The eraser tool has also received a boost, as you can choose which line types to target and how thick the tool's point is. Surrounding these features are the line direction tools for altering which way you want the rider to move, the vertex manipulator tool for highlighting parts of a line you want to alter, and the selection tool for grabbing whole parts of a track. There is also a jukebox icon that takes care of the music of the game, where you can choose which tunes to assign to creations, or which to listen to; it's easy listening either way, with nothing particularly memorable. All of these features sound daunting, and on your first try of this mode they certainly will be, but with time and patience you'll be able to create some truly excellent tracks and pathways. The hints system from the tutorial mode is also intact here; very useful for getting to grips with and learning about the tools on offer, providing knowledge you can take over to puzzle creation mode.

Much like those you'll attempt to beat in story mode, puzzle creation allows you to make your own brain teasers. Tools at your disposal are identical to Freestyle's, except for options to place tokens and targets, and where to put the drawing regions for solving the puzzles. Of course, you'll have to play and complete your finished course to file it away, but what then? After all, replaying and tweaking them to be the best they can be would only last so long. Not to worry Padawan, this is where track sharing mode steps in. Players are able to upload created Freestyle or puzzle courses to the 'net for others to try, provided you've registered with Deep Silver's community website beforehand for the puzzle courses. As well as sharing your creations, you can download a pre-determined selection of others, provided you have enough space left on your cartridge. With this, and a local option for direct transfer between friends, Freestyle can last players a very long time, and although first impressions don't show much of advancement over the online Flash game, the advantage of portable play makes it worthy of a ride.

Screenshot for Line Rider: Freestyle on Nintendo DS - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Classic Line Rider at its core, coupled with an excellent control scheme marred only by fiddly icons, it makes for an interesting handheld experience.

Graphics

Moving away from the line style of the Flash game, but still retaining the same character with bright and cheery visuals. Choppy framerate on the cutscenes let the side down.

Sound

The jukebox feature allows for track selection from a list of nine songs and the option to switch off music entirely. Bearable but easily forgettable tunes accompany Freestyle as a whole.

Value

A challenging but short story keeps single play going, but the real length is in online creation sharing and making your own, making this potentially limitless in offering.

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

Line Rider Freestyle takes the template of the popular online game and runs with it, improving on the original in every single way. Small blemishes mar the experience, but for portable play, longevity, a sense of community and something truly unique, you'd be hard pressed to find a rival. Just make sure you can hook up your DS online.

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23.07.2009

4

5199

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Also known as

Line Rider 2: Unbound

Developer

Deep Silver

Publisher

Koch

Genre

Puzzle

Players

2

Online enabled

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Wow, I was really wondering how exactly you can make an internet flash game worth selling at full price. Did they really pull it off this time? o.0;

I've always enjoyed Line Rider, so I can't say I'm not tempted by this one Smilie

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Really digging the online sharing, sounds neat - definitely extends the length and something developers should really include in games like this. Surprising score, didn't think they'd put this much effort in converting an online game to "full" retail title - good stuff!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Wow that looks so cool I just remember me playing Line Rider o the computer for hours!!

jb said:
Really digging the online sharing,
Diddo! Smilie
Want it Smilie


John:
I..I can't watch porn. My Mommy finds out
:}
ukgujfl (guest) 08.04.2011 22:13#4

SmilieSmilieSmilieSmilie

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