I’m genuinely delighted that there is a sub-category of video games dedicated to capturing the wholesome nature of relaxation. I find it incredible that games simply about taking a moment to decompress after an exhaustive week perform so well. Lifeslide sells itself on its exhilaratingly relaxing gameplay, a juxtaposing sentiment I often felt it succeeded in emulating to perfection. Unfortunately, while there is a phenomenal game buried somewhere within Lifeslide, its place is not on PC.
“Lifeslide consistently manages to ensure that your experience never grows tired.”
From the offset, Lifeslide captivates with its stunning environments and an exceptional upbeat soundtrack. Floating through the ethereal and fantastical locations can be mesmerising at times, especially when you begin to pick up momentum. The variety in environmental design is as incredible as it is inspired. Each level feels entirely distinct from one another. They truly encapsulate the feeling of blissful beauty that Lifeslide is trying to capture.
Lifeslide also manages to ensure that your experience never grows tired. The inclusion of a timer forces you to think on your feet and attempt to pick up momentum in tight spots. Sure, it doesn’t exactly lend itself to the “relaxing” gameplay it promises, but it makes for a more enjoyable experience overall. The Zen mode is available for those who’d rather relax.
Additionally, the small gems scattered across each map create a fun loop to entertain you as you soar through the sky. Collecting yellow gems increases how much time you have per level while collecting blue gems will allow you to purchase more expensive upgrades. Again, this risk-reward system seems at odds with the game’s original intention. Nevertheless, it made me engage with it a little more and helped retain my interest.
“On mobile devices or even on the Nintendo Switch, Lifeslide would excel. But on PC it falters almost every time.”
Unfortunately, playing Lifeslide is not as easy as it should be. While it looks and performs unbelievably on PC, it is clearly not designed for it. I went into Lifeslide fully expecting to manoeuvre as I were a child again, a toy plane in hand, running around ebulliently, a beautiful sense of childlike wonder coursing through me as I twirl the plane around gracefully. Alas, controlling the paper plane in Lifeslide often feels frustratingly inconsistent.
Occasionally, I’d find myself dipping my plane ever so slightly, watching as it tumbled toward the babbling brook below before rearing it up at the very last second, skimming the water with the nose of the plane and shooting it back into the sky. Those moments are truly exhilarating and showcase how playing Lifeslide should feel. Unfortunately, these moments are incredibly rare as, unlike Pazu in Castle in the Sky, I rarely manage to pull up at the last second. More often than not I find myself crashing into the ground ending a flawless run. Other times I’ll run out of momentum quicker than I have the time to realise what’s going on. I’m left with little recourse other than to watch dejectedly as my plane sinks to the ground.
Something tells me with a joystick or touch controls, playing Lifeslide would feel exactly as the developers intended. I still maintain that Lifeslide is brilliant, and buried somewhere within this port is a phenomenal time. But unfortunately, I never found it. On mobile devices or even on the Nintendo Switch, Lifeslide would excel. But on PC it falters almost every time.
“I wish I had enjoyed my time with it more.”
It’s also hard to recommend purchasing Lifeslide at full price. It’s often hard to gauge just how much a video game is worth, especially when considering the insurmountable amount of effort developers often put into their passion projects. But when it comes to value, Lifeslide falters ever so slightly. This is especially apparent when you compare it to similar titles in the genre. Superflight, for example, is only $2.99/£2.09. Sure, the experiences aren’t entirely the same, but it feels as if Lifeslide, for what is currently available, is perhaps priced a little too high comparatively. When you consider the fact that the game doesn’t work nearly half as well on PC compared to mobile, paying full price seems hard to recommend.
I wish I had enjoyed my time with Lifeslide more. I found its varied environments truly mesmerising wonders to behold. Its soundtrack is suitably blissful, capturing the feeling of a creeping smile stretch across your face as you settle into serenity. My attention rarely wandered as its various mechanics kept me intrigued throughout. Occasionally, I even felt as if I could master the art of paper plane flight as it promises. Unfortunately, its controls are simply not intended for a keyboard. On a Nintendo Switch, or on mobile where it was initially conceived, Lifeslide would be magnificent. Alas, on PC it simply cannot stay afloat.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC, code was provided by the developer.