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Review: Line Rider Freestyle - Nintendo DS

by Steven Williamson on 23 July 2009, 15:24

Tags: Line Rider Freestyle, Deep Silver, DS, Puzzle

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Gameplay impressions

What do we like?
Line Rider Freestyle does possess a few of the addictive qualities that made the PC game so popular, with the Freestyle and Puzzle modes providing the most entertainment, as well as adding significant replay value away from the main story mode. Impressively, you have all the tools at your disposal to sketch and create some creative and challenging maps by experimenting with various lines to draws hills and ramps. Uploading these tracks and downloading other user-created tracks takes just a matter of minutes via Nintendo Wi-Fi and the developer has cleverly ensured that players must be able to complete their own maps with their rider before it can be uploaded. This ensures that all of the downloadable tracks are possible to beat. There are some brilliantly designed maps already uploaded from the community and a lot of replay value and challenge to be had if indeed you're a sucker for a good puzzle.

Away from the these two creative modes, the puzzles in story mode have been pre-set by the designer. Though they can be very tricky to complete, there is satisfaction to be gleaned out of completing a route successfully. This is really where the addictive factor of Line Rider comes into play. Experimenting with the different lines, changing angles and working out what you need to do to get your little fellow safely to the end goal can be fun if you're willing to invest the time and have the patience to cope with some fiendishly hard objectives.

What don't we like?
Even in the early stages of Story mode the challenges are very difficult, frustratingly so. We do love a challenge, but the margin for error here is tiny - mainly because the physics engine is so precise that even the smallest of mistakes sends your sledge rider spiraling our of control. The clumsy interface makes it even more frustrating. Each time you set a line you can’t edit it. Instead you have to navigate through the icons to find the eraser, rub out the line, and then go back to where you started - clicking on numerous icons once again to get back to the spot where you're able re-select your line type; it's just too long-winded. A large chunk of our gameplay time in story mode was spent doing this monotonous chore over and over again. We don’t mind being challenged, but the clumsy tool navigation makes it difficult to enjoy some of the cleverly designed puzzles, and the tiny margin for error borders on the ridiculous.

Furthermore, the attempt to jazz up story mode and inject a puzzle game (which is about a sled rider remember?) with humour, via animated cut-scenes, just doesn’t work. Line Rider is a casual puzzle game so it really doesn't need any whistles and bows to attempt to make it more attractive.

Final Thoughts
In its most simplistic form you can still get Line Rider for free online, whereas you're going to have to fork out between 14.99-£19.00 for the DS version. And while there's certainly entertainment and replay value to be had out of its online component, and value to be had out of being able to carry the game around with you and play it at your leisure, its crossover to console feels a little clumsy. Still, the DS version brings the Line Rider concept to a new audience and there's no doubt that, despite its interface failings, some will find it an addictive challenge.

Final Score - 6/10

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