Line Rider 2 Unbound

January 7, 2009

Line Rider, the popular Flash toy, is an intriguing way to spend a few minutes, but it wasn’t the most likely to turn into a retail product. It had no goals, no levels, and no real original content. The player was presented with a white screen and a few controls at the top of the screen. That was it. All the fun came from drawing on this canvas and watching a little guy on a sled ride on these lines. The guy usually got stuck or crashed until the player got the hang of it, and from there the experience really took off. (Of course, many people never got that far.)

So how did Genius Products turn Line Rider into a game? Well, by adding goals, levels and original content. There’s now a rough story: something involving a snowy mountain and a stolen girlfriend. It’s certainly not crucial, but it makes for a few amusing Pac-Man-style shorts between groups of levels.

The gameplay of the campaign takes a puzzle-style approach: the majority of the level is locked into place, but certain areas of each stage are open to drawing, and players take a trial-and-error approach to getting to the end. This would be monotonous, but Genius Products injected a bit more variety by adding different line types. Some lines speed up or slow down the rider, while others break or disappear after use.

Rather than making players with unsteady hands suffer, Genius implemented a line-drawing system similar to the pen tool in Photoshop. After first drawing a straight line, players can alter the curve of the line by dragging two little handles. It’s an intuitive approach, and works well.  The only gripe would be with the general inaccuracy of the Wii’s pointer, but this two-phase approach mitigates the situation.

Also included on the disc is a recreation of the original game with the added line types. This is the primary attraction of the game, because the story mode is relatively short. Players can upload levels via wi-fi, and download others’ creations for extra challenges. It isn’t for everyone, though; creating complex levels requires an uncommon level of skill and dedication.

If you’re one of those people that became addicted to the Flash game, you’ll have fun with the extra features. If you didn’t like it, there’s nothing here to bring you around.  This game is very similar to the DS title, though, so you might want the portability of that version…there’s not much that higher-res graphics can add to a game about lines.

Plays like: An upgrade of the flash game.
ESRB: E- The little guy crashes, but he doesn’t seem to be hurt so much.
Pros: Fleshed-out version of the Flash game, added modes
Cons: Could have been done on WiiWare more easily

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.