Today, Refract studios, the guys that brought us Nitronic Rush (another futuristic arcade racer), released the private beta for Distance. Thankfully I backed this game back during its Kickstarter days so I was able to get access to this beta and get a hands on try of what this game is like.
Distance is an arcade survival racer that features a trackmania style of racing. Besides accelerate and break, the car has 4 other features that allow you to navigate obstacle ridden tracks in order to finish the level as fast as possible. Those features include boost, which if held down for too long will overheat your car and can be regenerated at checkpoints; Jump boosters which allow you to jump over obstacles; Flying mechanism, which is used when there is a large gap in the race track but if you don’t hit checkpoints along the way you run out of power and your car drops and finally thrusters on your car for Zero-G maneuvering and jumping from track to track (for example flipping upside down if the continuation of the track is above you.
The Game is a blast to play and also features Steam Workshop so you can download from lots of community made maps and race your friends in either online or even split screen (yes split screen is back). Refract even made somewhat of a story campaign that has you drive through your Tron like city when you start to discover an “alien” presence that has disturbed the world and destroyed most of the city. Due to this being in Beta there are small items that aren’t finished yet including the main campaign however a lot of the game is there and besides the fact that the performance isn’t where it should be for a computer like mine, it runs at a solid framerate that shouldn’t be a problem for most. Along with the gameplay, the sound track is quite solid featuring some great trance and techno beats to go along with the theme of the levels. The graphics are quite nice (the menu had some options I had not seen before) and the world itself is quite beautiful and reminds me a lot of Tron. The screenshots below are from my own hour or so gameplay through the campaign and a quick split screen match. You can pre-order the game but you won’t get access to the beta until they release their public beta access. Right now beta access is for Kickstarters only.
Distance Beta Trailer: