September 20, 2013 10:10 AM | Paul Hack
One of the coolest things in the digital box of wonders called the LA Game Space Experimental Game Pack 01 is the alpha build of Perfect Stride, the highly anticipated new game from IGF winners Arcane Kids (Zineth). Perfect Stride is all about going fast on your hoverboard, making insane jumps, and accessing new places to skate.
The game's controls are a revelation. They seem bizarre at first, but come to feel pretty amazing and really add to the immersion and sense of speed. Most of the game is controlled only with the mouse. To gain speed, you hold down the left mouse button and swipe the mouse from side to side, almost like you're skiing or rowing. Camera motion translates into speed. There's a specific distance to move your mouse for maximum boost, which is shown to you during the game's excellent tutorial.
You can let go of the left mouse button to look around freely without affecting your momentum. Right click to jump, and right click again to dive if you're in a long fall. You also have the ability to rewind time by pressing Q, and to go forward, as far as the present, by pressing E. Like in Braid, you don't restart or respawn if you eat it, you just rewind. You can also smoke a cigarette (or something) with a numerical display on it, though I'm not sure of its intended function, if any.
As you skate, you leave a red ribbon of a trail behind you called a "stride", and you can use these for reference when you rewind or when you retry a particular maneuver. To open up new areas, you need to go around collecting glowing triangles, which will trigger the appearance of "perfect strides". You have to perform each perfect stride yourself, closely following its course and matching your trail to it. Whoever left these perfect strides were some skillful skaters, and matching them can be grueling. Sometimes I just prefer to skate around aimlessly instead, but perfect strides are how you progress.
This game is an awesome experience, even in its alpha stage. Perfect Stride Alpha, along with a whole lot of other games, is yours in exchange for a $15 donation to LA Game Space. Versions of Perfect Stride Alpha are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.