PAX West 2017: Lightfield

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

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I’m not ordinarily one for racing games. However, I am quite fond of arcade racers such as the Mario Kart series, and futuristic racers like F-Zero or the more recent RedoutLightfield falls into the latter category, and caught my attention with its soundtrack and flashy, neon visuals.

Lightfield is a racing game where players control a mech that can fly freely or latch onto surfaces to increase its speed. You can move freely in three dimensions, which mainly comes into play by jumping from one surface to another as you progress through a course. Jumping off surfaces gives you a small speed boost, as does performing tricks such as flips mid-jump. The ability to jump at will from one surface to another can make it incredibly complicated to find the fastest route through a level, especially when there are several surfaces available at any given point in a course.


In addition to the main track, each level is housed within a large environment. This environment can be freely explored by the player; there are apparently limits, but I didn’t encounter them while exploring one of the environments in the demo. Also, since there are multiple tracks within environments, it’s possible to travel from one course to another; naturally one of them will be less detailed due to technical restrictions, but the fact that they’re there at all makes exploration fairly rewarding and interesting on its own. According to the developer, the game was partially inspired by the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, giving the player a freeform environment for them to tackle as they please, be that by exploring, going for the best time, or trying to perform tricks.


The racing itself is pretty different from any other racing games I’ve played, what with the total freedom of movement. Optimizing your movement takes a lot of practice and knowledge of the system, but once you manage to take advantage of the speed boosts you can get and beating the high-level computer-controlled enemies it gets incredibly satisfying. I didn’t get a whole lot of opportunity to listen to the music because I was talking with the developer as I played, but it’s high-energy and exciting, good for people who like European techno.

Lightfield is set for release later in 2017, for PS4 and Xbox One. It’s not your normal racing game, but I recommend it for people interested in something flashy and different.

About Chris Melchin

Chris is a computer science student who has been gaming ever since he knew what to do with a Super Nintendo controller. He's a fighting game player, with a focus on BlazBlue and Under Night In-Birth games. His favourite games include Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Persona 5, and Little Busters. He started watching anime in high school, and his favourite series is Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. He also writes Vocaloid music for his personal YouTube channel, and has a (slight) obsession with Megurine Luka.