Day 22: Streamline

Posted: 2010/12/01 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #22, and today’s game is “Streamline”.

This is one of those games that comes along every once in a while that is almost hypnotic. The first time I experienced that was with Sega’s classic Columns, where I would get in the zone so deep I was making moves before I even perceived the gems appearing at the top of the screen. I experienced some of that with Streamline too.

Playing Streamline is a bit like racing across an animated Etch-A-Sketch, but doing so at mach speed. You’re literally a line flying across the screen, and you must weave and dodge around obstacles to get to the finish line first. You have the ability to boost, but doing so reduces your health. Touching obstacles also deteriorates your health, though there are times when you may choose to do so strategically (as you can pass right through a thin object, sacrificing a bit of help but possibly gaining a positioning advantage). There are boost pads that speed you up without a health penalty, and energy pads that recover your health. Finally, you have the ability to engage a slow-mo mode that makes navigating tricky sections easier, but since this is a race you must use it exceptionally sparing.

The game is one game that’s elegant in its simplicity. It can be devilishly hard, but it never feels impossible, which creates the sense of needing to play “just one more turn” to get past a level that’s bedeviling you. It’s 80 Microsoft Points of unique racing fun.

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