Following its successful Kickstarter, developer Refract have been hard at work preparing their neon-infused, gravity-defying, street racer for release. They were showing the game off to press and developers at last week’s GDC, they’ve now released some of that footage for us to paw at as though it were a window to a world where magical Tron cars are a reliable means of transport.
Largely, Distance is looking like an excellent sideroad entry into the racing genre, it doesn’t fall into the generic trappings of the mainstream racer by virtue of its dark cyberspace setting. The cars’ ability to jump and sprout wings, too, separates it from the likes of Need for Speed and GRID. After watching that footage I do have a few reservations: I didn’t get a great sense of speed from the video, plus the in-air rotation of the car looks too out of the physics of the world – the way the player can rotate the car in one direction and back on itself the moment all four wheels are off the ground.
Another issue, and one which won’t be possible to gauge till we see footage with more cars on the road, is that the tracks seem too long, wide, and empty. It could well be that this is because Refract are demonstrating a single car on the track, to highlight the stability of the engine and their tracks, and that it seems bare because usually in a race all that space will be filled with other cars but until we see that footage that’s my impression.
There’s still no official release date for the game but Refract are hoping to launch Distance’s beta this summer.