It really is. I still prefer Mario Kart or ExciteBots overall, but as a 600 point downloadable title, Light Trax delivers the goods, and then some.
The simplistic art style is really cool.
You are the white light track, and you must navigate the course, avoiding obstacles, while slipstreaming next to other light trax to gain boost and overtake the leaders. It's an uphill battle from the get-go, because you're forced to start from 7th position. You can not travel in the same lane as another light trax, but you do want to travel next to one so you can accumulate your boost. Changing lanes reduces your speed, but cutting corners on the inside will give you an edge. You can even screw over light trax behind you by changing into their lane, forcing them into another potentially hazardous direction. There are plenty of perspective changes as you race, which can be confusing at first, but I feel they add style to the game, and force you to be on the ball.
There are a few different game modes, from single race to tour (three-race cup with points), to freeway mode. Freeway mode is different from the racing, essentially you are on a highway and want to accumulate points within the time limit by slipstreaming past other light trax, while going faster and faster.
The game is quite difficult, and I love it. I spent a good few hours trying to get 1st in the 3rd cup, and finally getting it, to unlock the 4th via the freeway mode, was very rewarding.
The music in this game has a techno/electronica vibe to it, and to say the least, it's awesome. Every race has a different tune.
I'll leave you with a video, and impressions from a long-time NW member. In short, buy this game.
So I picked up Light Trax. I have Dotstream, but I never played it much, and I now realize that I didn't understand the mechanics at all. It is sort of a single-player slot-car racing game, but it's SO FUCKING WEIRD, the strategies you have to employ and such. Basically, you build up boost by slipstreaming, and you slipstream by being next to another light track (or, ideally, between two). Very abnormal, but pretty cool. There are also power-ups, and you can cash in a 'life' for a mega-boost. The 3D stuff is nothing more than a neat visual gimmick, as far as I can tell. You automatically shift between planes and keep the lane you were in.
There are two main modes in Light Trax - the original race mode from Dotstream and the new (?) Freeway mode, which is very neat. The rules in Freeway mode are different. You have to slipstream until you can shift to the next gear, which makes you go faster and faster. Very exhilarating. Especially with the cool, minimalist visual design. I really enjoyed what little I played of that mode.
I played the first cup and the first Freeway. I've gotta say, I'm liking it! I don't know why, but I'm enjoying this game a lot more on a home console. The aesthetics really shine (aside from some jaggies), and now I actually know what I'm doing (ProTip: RTFM!). I'm very happy with my purchase.
It's been a while since I played Freeway mode, but if I remember correctly you need to play all of the cups to unlock all of the areas in Freeway. Once you do that, your objective is to get to a given area within a certain amount of time. When you do that, you get a point bonus and additional time is added to your clock. I think.
Yes, I know that. But I was explaining what you do in the Freeway mode to maximize your score. You have to reach the goal sector before your time runs out. Once you reach that sector, you get something like 5000 points and a couple minutes added to your clock. In theory, if you play well enough you could play forever, which makes the mode very addictive.
I recall it tells you which sector you should try to reach in Freeway mode. Now, how exactly to get there, I have no idea. I just wait for the exit to that sector to randomly pop up while I'm on a certain freeway. Is there a "map" of sorts connecting the various sectors?
So I just played Light Trax because it has been a while since I've played it.
When you begin Freeway mode, there will be a message saying, "The bonus sector is ____", and then always on the right hand side of screen you can see which sector is the bonus sector.
What's difficult is trying to figure out the fastest way to that sector. There are five sectors, and they are all connected by the central freeway (basically one big loop). The five sectors are connected in this order: Lumina - Spectra - Intensa - Radia - Brillia. Brillia is also connected to Lumina. There's a good diagram in the online manual, but I need to write them down on a piece of paper or else I can't remember the order when playing.
For example, say you start in the Lumina sector, and the game says that the bonus sector is Intensa. In order to get to Intensa, you'll need to head in the direction of Spectra to get there the fastest. While you're going through the Lumina sector, look for the off ramp that heads to Spectra. Once you get on that ramp, you are now on the main loop freeway heading in the direction towards Spectra. You'll eventually get to an off ramp to Spectra, but since Intensa is the bonus sector you'll want to continue on to Intensa. Once you've reached the ramp to Intensa, take it, and you'll receive your bonus points and additional time. Then the game will give you a new bonus sector.
I hope what I've said makes sense, but it's a really fun mode, and the meat of the game in my opinion. My high score is currently 195,962.
Now that I understand the layout, it seems more manageable. They usually give you a goal sector one or two sectors away, which is doable in 2-3 minutes as long as you keep your speed up.
Do you try to slow down and slipstream all the flashing trax to get the 10 second bonuses, or do you leave be the ones that are really slow? Do you try to slow down to slipstream as many trax as you can along the way for points? Also I noticed a few times I got a weird bonus for crossing over some trax, while my speed got docked. What's that all about?
It was quite a while ago when I achieved that score, so I can't exactly remember how I did it. In general, though, I try not to slow down for anything, which means that I might miss the occasional 10 second bonus. Plus, if you're in a lower gear then you don't get as many points for passing other trax.
I do recall something in the manual about a bonus if you cross over a trax when it has changed lanes, but it's something that I never do myself (not worth the risk of losing speed).
I finally finished Brillia! I kind of cheated a bit, if you are doing bad and just hit the home button and reset the software it won't overwrite your last save. So basically you can beat the first race, and keep trying and resetting the second race until you beat it, same with the third, and then you don't have to beat them all in a row. Of course, by the time I beat each race, I basically had it down anyway, so I probably didn't need to cheat.
I messed with some of the unlockable modes but for the most part I think I'm done. It feels good! I always wanted to finish Brillia! I kind of consider it "beating" the game, and the other modes are just bonus modes.