Saturday, October 13, 2018

Distance... Reviewed!


Get ready to hit the road, fly, jump onto walls... and parkour your car from A to Victory! Oh before I get started, I saw some guys (adult male humans) wearing onesies while writing this review.




Distance is an arcade racing platformer set in a futuristic setting and was created by an Indie team that includes students from the DigiPen Institute of Technology. I'm not giving them a "5" for the student aspect (I still have to base my score on my actual experience), but I will say this... I salute the decision to include students. Setting out to get in the industry is no joke for many students, and some never make it... for various reasons that sometimes include losing out on positions based on who they don't know.

So I think this was an awesome move. I hope to see more developers open the door in some form or fashion to help students get experience, because some studios require experience on at least one release. If you don't have the opportunity to be part of a dev team to make a game, that's going to be a challenge to pull off unless you create your own game. If you aren't a jack of all trades... good luck on that one. So think about that when it comes to supporting this game.

Anyway, Distance has a fast-paced challenging adventure... even though I can't say that it really told much of a story in this mode, but you track down an ominous threat. The visuals are nice, and the game runs silky smooth. It didn't seem to require a lot of juice from my PC, and during the many times my digital car exploded or was cut in half... or the few times where it was actually smashed, I was able to just respawn and continue (in a flash). Wouldn't that be an amazing feature to have on real vehicles? It would require some sort of active nano-te... (you know what... never mind) let me just get back to the review. Considering what you have to go through in order to reach the ominous threat... beating it is somewhat satisfying, although there could've been a bit more to it.

Going back to the visuals, the way they did the special effects... is pretty cool. I like the way the world would change before your eyes as if it's not really what it seems. It's almost as if its a fake reality of a world that the boss set up, and sometimes you slip through the visual hack to see what it really is. Literally, sometimes the track would change midway and... you'd have to watch the road ahead to avoid the obstacles now revealed. That's the first time I've experienced that in a racing game, it's pretty badass.

In seeing this though... I began thinking of people prone to seizures. You can play what you want and I'm not calling it a con, but I'd say based on the visual effects... beware, because I don't know what that may trigger (if it triggers anything at all).

Other modes in this neon-drenched world... include arcade, where you race ghosts to top the leader boards, and earn medals to unlock new tracks in various modes.

Multiplayer is self-explanatory, but... you can race against 12 players online... while enjoying 2 to 4 player split-screen offline in modes like Sprint, Reverse Tag, Stunt, etc.

There is a random track generator in this game known as... Trackmogrify. You have a full level editor that allows you to share tracks with other players from around the world in that mode. A casual gamer may see this level editor and become intimidated in my opinion. Even I took a step back from the level editor because the UI wasn't as simplified as one would hope for gamers (vs developer's using it or someone familiar with game engines)... and I just don't have the time to jump into that.


When it comes to the cons, I do think that they should consider simplifying the level editor or... have a simple mode. That will increase the use of this mode and in turn increase the number of tracks, which increases the replay value. Another con I give this game is the wall jumping. It's going to sound weird, but the jumping and riding on walls... works. Yes... it does work, but it could be better. I won't even say it was because I am a noob, its not that... they're good at starting you out easy before bringing the heat. It has to be tighter so that you aren't sent off into space for the inevitable explosion even if you know how to cling. I know its part of the challenge, but in certain areas... you will explode a lot after you fall off the track because it doesn't feel like its placed properly. Hmmm, maybe I should just blame that on the specific area of certain levels vs the actual wall jumping itself.

This is one of those games I'd recommend you either record or stream, to show off your bad-ass-ness behind the wheel. Once the speed picks up, not everyone will be able to keep up as well as others.

Once you get adjusted, its fun (on most tracks) and you can utilize your skills to take on the challenges. Replay value soars when it comes to the multiplayer and arcade mode, and I give props to the level editor for that. You can remove wall jumping all together by making your own tracks... and I've seen and raced through a variety of them (some I like a lot, some I cannot describe in friendly terms), but you will probably have to invest a little time to figure it out. One thing I really like about the track editor is all the variety available for your level design. It's a great way to practice if you're in pursuit of level design experience for racing games. If we make some tracks... you will know.

Price wise... the game comes in at $25, which is okay... but it feels better at the $20 mark to me. It's not a stretch at $25 though...considering the full VR integration, so the additional experience is worth it. What's funny is that the first person view mode feels uncomfy for me without VR, but its a different story with a headset on.

Overall, Distance is a challenging racing-platformer with enough to keep you going... and if the community continues to grow and hold strong, racing fans will have an arcade option at a good price to enjoy for the long haul. Aside from certain areas of specific tracks, this is the type of racer that can usher someone into the genre.


Fun factor: 3

Visually: 5

Replay value: 5

Price: 5


"4.5 / 5 Cool Points"



Brought to you by the... Baby Fu Clothing Co!