Saturday, December 6, 2014

Let me Try - Distance (Early Access PC Game on Steam)

A solid racer overall, it has all the elements to be both fun and competitive, following that hard to obtain recipe of easy to learn but hard to master.

It is also a ton of fun if you have somebody to play with, either online or split screen for which you can have up to 4 players on the same screen. 

So in short... Drive fast, be quick to avoid obstacles and keep your eyes on the track!
I had no issues with the game being completely fictional and very polished for a early access tittle. 
Check out my initial impressions video for more details :


Type: Arcade survival racing game
Developer: Refract
Stage: Early Access
Release date: 09 Dec 2014

I started playing racing games during the glory days of Carmageddon and "FZR2000" ;) and i have remained unimpressed ever since NFS Underground.
It's hard for a racing game to impress nowadays... Why ? well we kinda seen it all... haven't we ?
I mean.. what could they possibly do to impress us ?

Well Distance did it...
The game features a fresh take on the trackmania recipe with pleasant Tron-ish graphics.
The soundtrack is ok but considering the way the actual game plays ...perhaps something a bit more "strong" would have been better.
You don't get to chose from X number of cars and have only one which is slightly customizable...a color here and a accent there. Strangely i never felt the need to change my car and i never felt like the game would benefit from a larger variety of vehicles.

So what is this game all about ?
Driving as fast as you can and avoiding all obstacles as swiftly and as elegantly as you can.
The game features several game modes such as Sprint, Stunt, Speed and Style, Challenge etc...
When it comes to multiplayer we have either split screen (up to 4 players, only one can use keyboard the rest have to use controllers, and in 2 player mode you can chose vertical or horizontal split screen) And then we have the online component for up to 6 players.
The game includes a full and very complete level editor and steam workshop support (for which you can already download over 100 tracks). Obviously this can ad a ton of replay value, and if you fancy yourself a hot-shot designer maybe you will make the next "epic track".
There is even a single player campaign which is used as a tutorial and introduction to this futuristic high tech world (full of sharp/pointy/blunt death-traps that are in your way!).
During this campaign you will learn how to barrel roll, fly, hover and glide in zero gravity.
The games main mechanic is the boost. There is no recharge time for it like in most games but you do need to be careful not to overheat or else you go BooM! There are some gates which will either partly or fully cool and regenerate your car for all the damage taken up to that point.
Something i really liked was the way the HUD is done, it is mostly integrated into the game elements, which dose lots for the overall feel of the game. There are some who do not like this aspect because at times the HUD is not visible. In my opinion this is not a big deal because a game such as this should be played by.. "feel" if that makes any sens...
Another design element i really appreciate is the way vibration is done for the 360 controller. This is used to GRADUALLY warn you about how overheated your car is. This means that you can keep your eyes on the track and off your rear bumper. 
When it comes to the ugly "early access" tag i would go as far as to say that Distance dose not really need it. The single player campaign is not complete and the mouse is not functional in all menus... but these are all the early access "scars" i could find in my time with the game.
I can go on and on about Distance but i don't wanna bore you to much so let's wrap-it up.

"The Good"
-The Track Editor- is not exactly user friendly but its a very complete tool
-The Graphics- although graphics are a rather subjective topic in my opinion
-Gameplay- rock solid, pure gaming, no nonsense
-HUD Design- this is the way a HUD should be done in modern games, yes it has some issues, but its a big step forward from the classic and outdated designs.

"The Bad"
-Only 6 players in online multiplayer...How Could You ?!

"The Meh"
-Soundtrack- I believe there are much better options for a game that plays like this...but again this is a subjective topic by nature.

What else is there to say ? 
Drop the clutch, boost to max, juke the spikes and i'll see you at the finish line...if you get there ;)