Skyriders by Inverse Blue treads a fine line.
Skill-based time-trial racers are notorious for their sharp difficulty curves, and this
space-themed title provides no less of a challenge, however clever level design and simple, yet
insanely fun gameplay keeps you coming back for more punishment. First appearances may make you think of games
like F-Zero and you’d be on the right path, however instead of racing AI opponents you’re
attempting to beat your own time and score. In order to do this you’ll need to jump, flip
(double-tap jump) and collect stars to fill your boost meter. That’s a bit of a simplification though as
with each stage you conquer the land slowly starts to twist and turn more and more, adding
pits, ramps, platforms, and even rings to jump through. This is further complicated
by boost pads and stars that help you to accelerate to your maximum speed, though only one type
of star can be active at a time – red or yellow. While your meter is empty, both will be collectable,
but after the first one you collect the rest will become gray and act as obstacles to avoid.
To ‘activate’ them you’ll need to perform a mid-air flip, forcing players to think creatively
about when to switch them as they’re bouncing between platforms. After earning a certain amount of points over
each stage you’ll earn ‘upgrade points’ to further specialize your vehicle and clear
stages even faster. It’s a great feedback loop, especially as you unlock new areas and
bonus stages that weave together all the previous stages in to one mega-track for huge point
boosts. Whether you’re after a game to prove your
skills or something with a bit more depth than the usual arcade release, Skyriders is
a perfectly executed time-trial racer that’s hard
to put down.