Race After 1977, a post-apocalyptic racer from Xpect Games, is now available from the app store. We brought you a hands-on preview a couple of months ago, but held off on issuing a final judgment until its release.
Race After 1977 Pros:
- Beautiful graphics that capture post-apocalyptic wasteland atmosphere
- Rocking soundtrack and good audio effects
- Multiple control options and sensitivity settings
- GameCenter integration for hefty achievement system
- Unlockable cars and tracks keep things fresh
Race After 1977 Cons:
- Racing physics are too loose and controlling vehicles is a chore
- No multiplayer mode yet
- Frequent video stuttering that impacted gameplay
- Would love nitrous or weapons to help even the playing field against AI opponents
Much of what we first wrote about Race After 1977 remains true, as you race 4 aggressive opponents across slick and 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 (Big Apple Bash, Ringside Re-Run, Dam Dissolution, City Contortion, and Dock Devolved) 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, suspension, 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, but actually overtaking them is a difficult undertaking, especially in the Normal or Hard difficulty settings. The Easy setting was a bit more forgiving. 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. We did experience a good deal of stuttering while playing, which was very annoying as it impacted our ability to steer effectively. 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 doubles as reverse when held. There are also touch screen controls for steering, as well as a half-wheel that can be positioned on the left or right side of the screen. We really liked how the car responded to the half-wheel, especially in conjunction with the sensitivity settings. This seemed to give us the greatest feeling of control, which isn’t saying a lot as we spent a lot of time careening from side to side or spinning out and losing our momentum. On-screen buttons are used to cycle through camera angles and check your rear view.
Replay value is ok if you can deal with the control difficulties and enjoy chasing down achievements, which are present in droves through GameCenter. Sadly, Race After 1977 launched without a multiplayer mode, though it has been indicated that this feature will likely be added in a future update, along with new tracks, environments, and vehicles. We hope this comes to fruition, as it would really help the playability if we were racing against others who also had to deal with the same control issues rather than the AI that doesn’t seem nearly as troubled. 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. An iPad-specific version optimized for the newest hardware should also be released in the very near future. Priced at $4.99, Race After 1977 is a 3.5-Dimple racer that feels a half-lap behind the competition.
Race After 1977 Review,