NASCAR fans and origami collectors unite! Grab your paper cranes and giant foam fingers, and prepare for one of the most beautiful races you've ever seen. Scenic is a new game from Bobblebrook (creators of Twizzle, Coign of Vantage, and A Good Hunch) combining elegant digitally-rendered landscapes with F-Zero-style racing.
Rather than resembling fighter jets and bombers, the gliders in Scenic are origami birds, Swallows for beginners, Floaters for intermediate fliers, and Steamrunners for those talented enough to complete the advanced tour. These delicate figures seem right at home as they soar across colorful scenes. The crystal blue track, for instance, seems to take place inside a multi-faceted sapphire gem. The backgrounds of other tracks vary from futuristic to fantastically surreal.
Don't be fooled into gawking at the landscape, however tempting it may seem. Scenic is an intense, fast-paced racing game. Three other gliders are vying for first place. To unlock new tracks, you must outmaneuver the others, and cross the finish line. Once you've completed the beginning tour, you can move on to more advanced races, or return to your favorite scenes for time trials.
Scenic offers two different ways to control your glider, either with the mouse or the arrow keys. A bar across the bottom of the screen shows how far your glider is turning. If using the mouse, you can steer by holding the cursor over this bar. Holding either the spacebar or the mouse button down causes the glider to accelerate. The glider will brake immediately when the key or button is released. These controls are sensitive, yet smooth. So, once you get the hang of it, flying through these mystical landscapes feels almost natural.
According to Phillip, this game was built using their own 3D engine, which they plan to build future games with until the native 3D features in Flash 10 become more accessible. The beautiful environments in Scenic combined with the smooth navigation of the gliders are a promising start for this homegrown technology. The only real fault in the game might be its intensity. The game takes a while to load, even on fast computers. There is an option for lower quality graphics, which promise to speed things up, but this isn't available until the game is already loaded. The slow loading time is well worth the wait, for even at high speeds, Scenic is a wonderfully relaxing experience.