The original Line Rider was one of those perfect, free PC games that you could understand in seconds and play it for hours. You just drew a line - including bumps, jumps, and even loops - and watched as your little sledder launched himself down it, hopefully safely. Line Rider 2: Unbound takes that same premise and adds in better graphics, a story, and a price tag. Is it worth it?
The answer to that question is: Probably. But it’s not a slam dunk. The gameplay is still captivating, and there are multiple modes now. Free-form is the original do-whatever mode, and Puzzle Creation focuses upon exactly what you’d expect. These also add several new kinds of line, which help Bosh speed up, slow down, pull tricks, bounce, and so on.
Then comes story mode, in which your sledder Bosh has a black-clad rival and a female love interest, and the tracks are pre-made. Well, mostly pre-made – there are missing bits that you have to draw in yourself to make sure Bosh makes it to the bottom without snapping his spine in two.
It’s all good, but it’s still a simple premise that wears out sooner rather than later for most folks – a free game that lasts this long is great, but when we’re shelling out actual money, we have higher expectations. Plus, the PC version has some strangely robust hardware requirements and limitations on how much you can adjust its graphics settings. Still, the magical appeal of the title remains, and the ability to share tracks via the internet could keep the marshmallows and cocoa flowing longer for devoted players. It’s impossible not to recommend this one for at least a rental.
Nov 7, 2008