|System: Wii, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: inXile Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Genius Products||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 16, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Joseph Catalanotto
Line Rider is a popular internet sensation and more toy than game. But the DS is a standard-bearer for untraditional games, so it's not particularly surprising that the concept has now moved to that platform. It's taken on a different form to accommodate a more objective-based style of game. This title has more depth than the original, but I still feel that it's better suited as a free flash "game". Still, if you really loved the first Line Rider, Unbound may be worth a purchase.
In order to facilitate a traditional video game set-up and make the transition from purposeless mind-waster to an objective-based game, Line Rider 2: Unbound implements a story where you're constantly in contention with a rival sledder for a girl's affection. The story serves little purpose and the storytelling essentially takes place via some really poorly-done cutscenes.
The traps that the black-clad sledder is constantly setting don't have much of a bearing on gameplay, because for each level in story mode, you'll generally be hitting a number of targets on your way to the finish line. There's a combination of the puzzle-solving required to get past some really tricky levels and a racing-like mechanic that requires your sledder, Bosh, to reach the end before his rival.
Line Rider 2 is really difficult in a very frustrating way; one instance in which this manifests itself is the puzzle-racing hybrid. If you manage to successfully create a design to get Bosh to the goal, you'll usually end up winning the race. But occasionally, particularly in the later and more difficult levels, sometimes you'll get Bosh to the finish line but find that you've been beaten. After this, you'll need to take on the exceedingly frustrating task of trying to make you're course faster, while keeping it functional.
Really, this by far brings up the biggest problem of the game: there's just too much trial and error. The game mechanics, which I'll get too momentarily, can be fun. Sadly though, most of the game revolves around the trial and error process of tweaking your stages to get them to work properly. It's not a huge deal, I suppose, if you're into that kind of thing. But frankly, it's a game style that still feels better suited to a free flash game than a full-fledged retail game.
During the story mode, many parts of the stage are already filled in. The twist, as you might guess, is that many key segments are left out. It's up to you, the player, to fill in these segments. You can draw in your own lines or use pre-made straight lines and then bend them. Neither control method particularly stands out, and I was quite surprised to find that touch control doesn't always work very well; sometimes it's not at all responsive and I'd have to try several times to get a line to bend.