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DS  header logo

Line Rider Freestyle

For: DS   Also on: Mobile

Break a leg

Product: Line Rider Freestyle | Developer: Genius Development Scotland | Publisher: Deep Silver | Format: DS | Genre: Casual, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
Line Rider Freestyle DS, thumbnail 1
Everybody's nostalgic about sledging. Not the kind of sledging that involves cricket players talking dirty, of course, but rather whizzing down a snowy hill on a rickety piece of wood or bin liner.

With Line Rider, you can happily recreate these moments of bliss by taking virtual rollercoaster rides down user-created mountaintops.

The game, created by Slovenian student Boštjan Čadež in 2006, has been a worldwide Internet smash, with millions of tracks created so you can drop Bosh, the sledge-wielding main character, down everything from suicidal sheer cliffs to amazing pieces of art.

When versions for the DS and Wii were announced under the title Line Rider Freestyle, though, the main question on everybody's lips was: "Why will this be worth paying for when I can play it for free on the web?"

To be honest, we're still waiting for the answer. Even at a budget cost (twenty pounds in the UK), Line Rider Freestyle lacks the content and presentation to back up its price.

This isn't to say it doesn't have any content at all, however. Once you've got past the first in a series of highly unnecessary cut-scene sequences, the Story mode is welcoming and deep enough to merit sustained play.

With 40 puzzles to push through and both targets and coins - offering bonus 'surprises' for the adventurous Line Rider to collect - a hearty few hours of play can be achieved from the Story mode.

The main problem is that a chunk of this time is spent in a frustrating process of trial and error. Although the controls are easy to learn - the stylus draws the lines, then just press the play button to see if you can steer Bosh to the finish - I found myself spending far too long making minuscule corrections to the lines in order to stop my rider flying way off course or dropping short.

As the results of even a small change to the line type/length/etc can prove fatal. This fussy set of physics felt strange compared to the otherwise easy and satisfying gameplay.

When a line is completed correctly and you find your character cheering away on the finish line, you do enjoy a feeling of a job well done, but as the puzzles get more complex and demanding, the amount of painstaking mistake correction increases.

By Act 4, I'd become unwilling to start a new puzzle in fear of having to draw ALL these lines over and over again, ad nauseum.

The game doesn't really take advantage of the DS hardware, either. Graphically it could be played on a Game Boy Advance with ease - lacking the FMV of course: probably an improvement. The rider is basic, the lines are pixellated and the backgrounds are bland to the point of non-existence. No doubt the Wii version looks mildly more acceptable, but if Line Rider Freestyle only slightly improves on the looks of the online version, it's really no encouragement to purchase.

Yet, there are full puzzle creation tools, which give you the ability to add console-exclusive line types and sound effects to your maps. Probably only die-hard fan will find the joy in this, as the trial and error effect is doubled due to the lack of course structure. You have to be seriously dedicated to create a masterpiece, especially given the stylus's level of inaccuracy compared to a mouse.

Hence, after spending a week with Line Rider Freestyle, I've come to realise you can only garner so much pleasure from drawing lines and watching a small avatar bound around them. And while the ability to download new maps, as well as share your puzzles with friends and non-friends alike via wi-fi is nice, you can do this for free and with less fuss on the web.
Line Rider Freestyle
Reviewer photo
Sean Bamberger  | 28 July 2009
The attempt to make Line Rider into a DS game fails thanks to fiddly controls and the fact it's not as fun or convenient as the web version
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