Simplicity can be the spice of life. I know people always say that it is variety, but variety can be overrated. When you have too many choices it can befuddle and confuse even something so fundamentally enjoyable as a video game. But, when you keep something simple, it can get old very quickly. Besides achieving a higher score, you go back to play a particular video game if it continually delights you. A game must balance a fine line between complexity and purity, variety and simplicity. Cubed Rally Redline is a game that shuns sophistication and complexity for a much more simple experience. But, more importantly than all of this conceptual philosophizing, is the game fun?
The short answer is yes. Cubed Rally Redline is fun as hell. But why? The answer lies in the variety that masquerades through the whole game as simplicity.
Cubed Rally Redline splices together the programming DNA of endless runner and slot car games. It's essentially an endless slot car game where the only level is a procedurally generated course. Each time you boot up the level, you're faced with a brand new combination of obstacles like gophers, cows, roadblocks, and fallen rocks. It's the oddity and curiosity of which track you will get next that keeps you playing just one more round.
The gameplay is achingly simple to master. To switch to one of the five lanes on the track, you tap on either side of the screen. You also have the option to use the emergency brake, which will slow your speed just enough to make it around the most devious of block shaped cows and pesky gophers. These straightforward controls are easy to master, which is great, because before you have a chance to enjoy the beeps and boops of the fantastic 8-Bit Weapon soundtrack, the difficulty ramps up hard. Where there were just the occasional road block or cow, you'll find a whole forest of trees and a labyrinthine scattering of rocks in your way. Does the difficulty become unfair? Nope, but it asks you to pay attention to that little road much more closely. No matter how difficult a section may look, you can always make it through with some deft finger-work.
Even if you do manage to crash, and you will -- a lot, it is a enjoyable watching your little slot car sized vehicle go up in flames. Who doesn't like crashes? It's everyone's favorite part of rally racing anyway.
Along your endless journey, you'll find items to pick up. One will send you skidding around corners in a perfect rally racing drift to rack up some extra points. The other item is a bit more integral in you getting as far as you can down the track. At the bottom of the screen is a little fuel gauge. If you ignore it, you'll make it just to where the game gets a bit hairy and then run out of gas. You'll need to grab the occasional fuel container to continue your race. The more devious part of this game is that it always gives you a choice between grabbing the gas or the extra point drifting power up. And they will usually be inconspicuously placed right in front of a rock or tree so you have to be quick enough to swerve out of the way at the last minute or be punished for your sloppy thumbs.
The look of Cubed Rally Redline is very much like that of Katamari. Bright primary colors pasted to boxy representations of real life objects give the whole aesthetic of the game a Playschool plastic feel. It is even complete with gravity defying cows that loop around under the track only to pop up on the other side. There's also the occasional stomping Tyrannosaurs Rex and Titanic ship for you to avoid. You'll also want to dodge your way into tunnels and onto the occasional speedboat for some double decker racing over the more aquatic parts of the level. Like I said, a bit inane, just like Katamari.
Cubed Rally Redline is a fun little game that will keep you coming back over and over just to beat that high score and see how far you can get without plowing head-on into the wildlife and landscape. It's a game that gives you a sweet balance of simplicity and variety, where each time you tap that little play button to start the level, you're not quite sure what you'll get. It is a deceptively simple little game that will continually surprise you. That's what makes it fun.