Driving games differ in a number of different ways, not just because they contain different kinds of vehicles (cars, bikes, Formula 1) but also in the type of challenge they present.
In the case of Pure the main objective is not only crossing the line in the first place, but also performing as many jumps, tricks and other acrobatics while you’re on air, flying at top speed over bumpy trails with your quad bike.
Before actually starting the race, Pure makes you go through a training session that also works as a kind-of tutorial. It's a good way to get used to the game's quite confusing controls, which inexplicably mix up keys from the standard WASD combination and the arrow keys.
After you learn how to preload, boost and do a basic trick, you're ready to go: it's time for a real race! This time the track is much more fun, because it enables you to compete against other drivers and also includes higher jumps in which you'll be able to show off everything you learned during the tutorial stage. The realistic, highly detailed graphics in Pure serve to make it even more enjoyable, and a lively rock-style soundtrack adds the final touch.
Pure requires a bit of dexterity, so if you don't get any trick during the first few minutes of gameplay don't panic. Also, note that you’re supposed to perform different tricks on each jump (repeating penalizes) and that if you’re successful with the basic ones, you’ll unlock more advanced tricks.
On the downside, I must admit Pure let us down for various reasons. The first one is the file's size, which is simply too heavy for such a short demo. They could have removed all those promotional videos and include at least another track. The controls are also a bit complex: just performing a basic trick involves four different keys, which are usually configured very far apart from each other on the keyboard. Finally, the game has some absurd restrictions. I don’t know what’s wrong with going a bit off the track or even trying to turn around and racing in the wrong direction, but you simply can't. Pure interrupts the game and puts you into track again. Seriously, a bit more freedom for the player wouldn’t hurt, even if that means I don’t win the race.
Pure is not just about racing: it's also about performing the craziest airborne tricks during the race. Too bad the demo is so short that you hardly have time to enjoy it.