Glorious. That's the best way to describe Distance, the Kickstarted indie game from Refract Studios. The game showcases the kind of graphics, themes and aesthetics that one would hope to get from a Tron game, but unfortunately that's probably not likely to happen under the guidance of an AAA publisher.
You love techno-trance music with glowing, neon-visuals? You'll love Distance. You like challenging tracks with F-Zero style obstacles and reaction times? You'll love Distance. You like badass gameplay with local, LAN and online multiplayer? You'll love Distance.
There's a couple of things worth taking away from the video above, though. One of the things is that the damage to the car is in real-time and entirely procedural to the effect happening to it. So if you mistakenly drive just the front end of the vehicle into a laser, guess what? Only the front end will get sliced off. If you get the wheels chopped off at some point, the car will become disabled.
You can see the awesome damage model in effect at around the 2:00 mark, where the car gets diagonally sliced in half and keeps on going until it can get to a checkpoint. It's so freaking sweet.
Additionally, you'll notice at times that the car will stop and “observe” certain things happening in the environment. It's not just the player stopping to derp around. Pay close attention (if you turn up the resolution) to the background and surrounding environment. Do you see it? Do you notice it? Turn up the volume. Maybe the sound will help your sight. See it now?
That's right, the game's background and environmental effects are synergistic to the game's music. So you see the environment, the lights, the pads and all those neon-flavored buildings reacting and revolving around the beat of the music. It looks spectacular in motion and it adds a certain kind of subtle rhythm to the racing that you otherwise may not have experienced without that implementation.
Of course, Audiosurf aficionados probably saw all that rhythm-based synergy and scoffed, since they've been used to that sort of stuff for years.
Still, Distance is shaping up to be one of those rare, arcade-racing experiences where it's as much about the thrill of skill-based, trick-racing as it is the sensory experience of dealing with the cars, the tracks and the surrounding environmental atmosphere. I'm loving it so far.
Any kind of fan of neon-noir futurism will absolutely adore what Distance is bringing to the table. I can't wait until this game lands on Steam. If you're a console gamer and you would also like to get your hands on it, you're in luck because the game could arrive for the eighth gen consoles.
In the meantime, you'll just have to settle with whetting your appetite with these deliciously delectable gameplay videos.
Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.
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