Developer Xpect Games will soon be bringing its post-apocalyptic racer, Race After 1977, to the app store. We’ve obtained a hands-on preview of a nearly-completed version of the game and found it fairly intriguing.
Race After 1977 sees you racing 4 aggressive opponents across dirty, gravely terrains in bombed out and crumbling cities. Heck, even the Statue of Liberty succumbed to the unknown disaster that has left our world in ruins, as her decapitated head can be seen in the background. The game contains 2 modes of play. Story acts as a career mode of sorts where you compete in tournaments across the 5 environments (Desert, Countryside Dam, Arena, Cold Zone, and Frozen Shipyard) to unlock additional vehicles and tracks by besting the competition. Quick Play allows you to jump directly into a race using any unlocked cars and locations for a one-off race to the finish. The 9 available vehicles are comprised of light, medium, and heavy types and are rated in terms of grip, speed, and acceleration, with enough variation to give each car a unique feel. Grip seems to be the most important of these factors, as the “roadways” make for some pretty loose steering abilities due to the grit and debris that litters the landscape. You’ll spend a good deal of time perfecting your drifting ability to take corners quickly. Environmental objects can also impact your race, as inclines can be hit to allow for shortcuts as easily as they can wreck your car. Get stuck and the game will reset your vehicle in a proper position to continue the race. You can also manually hit the reset button if necessary.
The 9 possible AI opponents are no strangers to rubbin’ and racin’, as they’ll do their best to knock you off-course if you get too close. Unfortunately, a lack of nitrous or weapons leaves you with little recourse other than to perfect your racing skills to compete. The AI racers never seem to get too far ahead of you no matter how badly you mess up, but actually overtaking them is a difficult undertaking. The game has a great end-of-days look, improved by the Retina Display graphics. It can be tough to pick out where the roadways are amongst the rubble, but arrows abound around the track to indicate possible pathways that you can utilize. The sounds are great, with rocking music and great effects to enhance the vehicular mayhem. The vehicles auto-accelerate and there is a manual brake button on-screen, which is difficult to use in conjunction with the on-screen touch controls. For this reason, the tilt controls worked much better for us, though an additional touch control method is supposed to be included in the final version which may change all that. On-screen buttons are used to cycle through camera angles and check your rear view.
Replay value appears to be pretty good, and will only improve with the inclusion of GameCenter integration that will bring a hefty achievement system. Though there is no multiplayer at this time, it has been indicated that this feature will likely be added in a future update, along with new tracks, environments, and vehicles. It should be noted that the game is designed to run only on the 3GS and later phones and the 3rd Gen iPod and later, as well as the iPad. No word yet on pricing, but Xpect Games is aiming for a February release, so hopefully we’ll see this hit the app store in the next couple of weeks.