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Review: Lightfield

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Streaking across the parkour zone

Racing games are a hard genre to innovate. While a developer could add interesting ideas, they still have to layer them on top of an already cemented foundation. Races have to work a certain way, laps have to be counted, and there has to be a beginning and end. 

Lightfield does its best to shake up this foundation and promises a game where there are multiple paths to winning each race. It's full of bouncy techno fun, but unfortunately succumbs to the restrictions placed on every racer. 

Lightfield (PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)
Developer: Lost in the Garden

Publisher: Lost in the Garden
Released: September 26, 2017
MSRP: $19.99

Lightfield has such a neat core concept. In this futuristic racer, you fly around tracks with a light trail following behind. Controls are set to two buttons and a joystick. One trigger button accelerates, and the other clings your ship to surfaces while speeding up. Pulling back on the joystick in tandem with releasing your ship from this cling results in a short hop. Utilizing these techniques is crucial to successfully winning races or shaving off precious seconds in the time trials. Tracks are well designed, rotating you into all sorts of angles as you speed through and cling to multiple surfaces. You can "drive" on walls, ceilings, and bounce across columns. The only problem is, there just wasn't enough to keep me around for too long. 

While there are ways to tweak Lightfield's system to your specifications, such as slowing down the gameplay speed for a super chill session or tripling the speed for an incredibly anxiety-inducing race (where I flew into so many walls), there's no helping how weightless the main vehicle feels. Bouncing around can be fun, but there just isn't enough of a tactile response to warrant taking advantage of the short hops. Without a weighty jump off of platforms, or a tangible speed boost, there's no help from it feeling stale after a while.

It's definitely not helped by the soundtrack. It may be great at times, but it shuffles through a collection of Viennese musician Zanshin's electronica albums, so the seven available racetracks don't have a score of their own to speak of. They may be well put together visually, and each one has a distinct vibe and neon art style, but they're missing that little extra flavor of personality you'd get if the music matched the gameplay a bit more. To top it off, when one song ends, there's a brief period of silence before the next one begins and those moments tend to stick out more after longer sessions.  

But Lightfield is fun in short bursts with friends. The local multiplayer mode elevates the gameplay as solo play can feel a bit isolated, but there's no online mutliplayer yet beyond playing with friends who also own the game. Unfortunately, there's quite a few stuttering issues that completely break the flow of some races. 

I enjoyed the core concept, and learning the best path to finish line (even if you're still forced to go through a finish line outside of a neat exploration mode), but every now and again there'd be a stutter. It's not game-breaking by any means, but it'd certainly interrupt the brief moment of zen I'd get trying to beat my finish times. 

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]


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Lightfield reviewed by Nick Valdez

5.5

MEDIOCRE

An exercise in apathy, neither solid nor liquid. Not exactly bad, but not very good either. Just a bit "meh," really.
How we score:  The destructoid reviews guide

 
 
 

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Nick Valdez
Nick ValdezAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Nick Valdez has been writing for Modern Method for years, but now he's writing about videogames! He likes games where you punch dudes in the face.  more + disclosures


 



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