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  1. Sep 5, 2019
    7
    Snappy Game Reviews - At the speed of light

    Lightfield is a new hyper-futuristic racing indie game developed by Lost in the Garden that tries to break the mould of how to make an anti-gravity racer by introducing a brand-new mechanic with a lot of flairs. It might have felt like a bizarre experience at first but the result is quite refreshing despite missing a few beats here and there.
    Snappy Game Reviews - At the speed of light

    Lightfield is a new hyper-futuristic racing indie game developed by Lost in the Garden that tries to break the mould of how to make an anti-gravity racer by introducing a brand-new mechanic with a lot of flairs. It might have felt like a bizarre experience at first but the result is quite refreshing despite missing a few beats here and there.

    Lightfield ’s main concept is a hybrid driving style that mixes high speeds with a parkour mentality. For you see, in this game you take control of a flying ship that can snap to any surface. While snapped to a surface your ship moves a lot faster than it does while flying but you’ll need to combine both forms to be able to navigate these cleverly designed courses. And this is where the parkour comes in, by snapping and unsnapping you’re able to pull off a variety of tricks that give you short boosts as you make your way through the course. This makes for some satisfying gameplay with you constantly having to switch between forms to maintain high speeds, regardless if you're driving horizontally or vertically. By winning events or simply collecting small bits scattered on the ground you gain experience that is used to unlock the next planet.

    The game can easily be split into three core categories: Racing, Time Trials, and Exploration. While the first two are rather self-explanatory the exploration mode is something that you don’t usually find in what essentially is an anti-gravity racer. While exploring each of the seven planets at your leisure you’ll be looking for several stars that are scattered throughout these huge maps. The fact that this mode doesn’t force you to meet a certain time or avoid taking damage means that you have a great opportunity to experiment with the parkour nature of the gameplay to try and find certain alternative paths or practice tricks while getting familiar with the track itself. This is why I always made sure to do this mode before any of the other two as I felt like it made a difference to learn the ropes before actually getting into the competitive events. Besides collecting stars there are also three treasure pieces hidden in each map but unlike the stars, you don’t have any sort of help to track these small pieces which becomes a real issue since these planets are packed with little nooks and crannies.

    Once you master all seven planets you'll unlock their nightrider versions, which are variations of the original tracks with a couple of changes and a different colour scheme. The game also features both a couch co-op mode up to four players as well as a friends-only online system up to six players, though the developers confirmed that they'll add regular matchmaking shortly through a free update. I only find it strange that there aren't any events that rely solely on the trick system. Sure, you'll need to use it to make it to the end of each race but I feel like the game could've had a mode similar to the old Tony Hawk games where you'd have to earn a certain amount of points by performing tricks before the time ran out.

    On the presentation side of things, Lightfield is pretty decent. Every single planet has a distinct sci-fi look and feel to it with each of these being massive playgrounds. The use of simple textures brimming with subtle light and colour effects makes for a pleasing aesthetic as a whole. I especially love the small trail of light that every ship leaves behind as besides looking quite neat they also serve as helpful guidelines to optimize your route. The only blemishes here are the recurring times where the game freezes for a second which kept throwing me off every single time and the lack of v-sync, at least on the regular PlayStation 4.

    On the other hand, the soundtrack is a bit of a hit or miss. The traditional idea of having one recognizable piece of music for each track is replaced in favour of having a selection of electronica music from a couple of albums composed by the Viennese Zanshin that's constantly playing. Because of this not only did the locales feel a little less memorable but so did the soundtrack itself. I mean, sure it's all a matter of taste and my opinion will likely be different from yours but I'll single out a couple of tracks just so you get what I mean. For example, I'd like to have more chilled music like Summer Night Steam or Jinxed Sphinx and less experimental music like Acbde Acbde or Solrenichi. Thankfully there’s an option that lets you skip tracks so you can simply ignore the ones that you don’t enjoy. Overall I was decently pleased by what's on offer here but it’s not as cohesive as I would’ve liked.

    Despite its technical issues and a couple of odd design choices, Lightfield is a unique racing game that successfully introduces a brand new hybrid racing style that works surprisingly well and demands a lot from the player to master it.
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Metascore
62

Mixed or average reviews - based on 5 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Oct 18, 2017
    73
    Lightfield is the blueprint for an interesting idea not executed properly. The flow you experience in this futuristic racer is very unique. But without a career mode and hampered by technical problem the fun is short-lived.
  2. Oct 4, 2017
    70
    Lightfield's concept impresses, as a mixture of horizontal and vertical races are wont to do. However, the game's technical shortcomings are too numerous to overlook.
  3. 50
    Lightfield is a beautiful looking game that unfortunately falls short. Whilst the movement options give this racer an interesting twist on getting from A to B, they present their own problems with disorientation being an unfortunate by-product. The vast spaces on offer feel underused and the lack of content results in something short-lived and a touch hollow. The premise on paper doesn't translate well to a finished product, sadly.