Next Car Game is the upcoming title from BugBear Entertainment, the studio that delivered both Flatout 1 and 2, Sega Rally Revo, and Ridge Racer Unbounded. I think it’s safe to say that this is one team of people who know what they’re doing in creating great car games. Next Car Game is being created as a KickStarter campaign that although is still in early stages, is already available to community backers.
During this stage in development Next Car Game is more of a playable tech demonstration than it is a traditional demo. The player is given one car and is able to drive around in a playground of destruction filled with traps, ramps, and environmental based weapons that you’re required to drive into in order to demonstrate the physics being worked on within the game. There’s a certain “Wow” factor about it when your goal is chaos and mayhem.
As there’s no real game mode, time limit, or objective such as earning points or racing against the other drivers , the demo becomes more of a competition between you and the A.I. to see who can trash their car the most. Even though there’s no choice of vehicle available at this time it doesn’t detract or take anything away from the game as it only serves as a physics simulation. It would have been something of interest though to see how the physic simulation work against other vehicle types, as well as a hint of what may be accessible in the final game.
Although the playground serves as nothing more than a non-textured background with white surfaces and gigantic ramps, the traps and launchers themselves are as frightening as they are creative. Grinders, Shredders, Ski-Jump style launchers, a jet engine, and even a mechanical spider are all there for your suicidal needs. The effort within the creation aspect of the game is phenomenal, It’s Flatout meets Saw, Jigsaw included.
The car functions on simple control method common to all driving games with the addition of controlling the player’s camera. This serves as a tool in demonstrating the game’s physics simulation. Certain objects in the environment play a role within the destruction aspects and can be thrown, broken, and toppled down on top of each other when being interacted with. Since the player is given direct control of the camera without the need for driving the car, you are able to pick up the objects within the environment which can then be launched into the air. These include barrels, scaffolding huts, homes, and concrete pillars.
The physics engine itself is quite impressive and does more than enough to put other games to shame, and these extends past the genre of driving games. As stated previously during this point in time the game is nothing more than a tech demo, so there’s not much available to the player in terms of choice outside of your own suicidal tendencies of vehicle mayhem. The vehicle itself handles as standard and the car models look great. As the game is still in early stages it will be more of a waiting game to see how the cars improve visually and if any tweaks are made to the handling system.
Due to the nature of the demo which is directly in sync with its enjoyability, you’ll be spending more of your time wrecking the car and seeing just how far you can push it until there’s nothing left. The control scheme allows you to reset the damage and the position of your car at anytime if you wish to clear up the damages you have and will inevitably make. Either way the vehicle will continue to drive regardless of its state even if that means a metallic ball of mess with only three wheels.
It’s easy throw away an hour or two playing the game when essentially you don’t expect be playing it for more than thirty minutes. The demo is lacking in an environment and there’s nothing to look at past the other cars and deadly contraptions. With that being said there’s a strange addiction factor that the demo holds on you which means the final game should be downright amazing.
There’s not much going it for it on the negative side for things such as bugs, glitches, or collision-detection, which is good. With that being said though there’s no environmental elements more natural to the game such as road surfaces, barriers, trees, or off-road terrain available to test these issues. It will be something we will have to wait and see later on in the finished game. It should be noted that the game runs just as well as it plays and I did not experience any performance problems or graphical hiccups, when testing the game across multiple graphical settings.
It will be interesting to see what else the team brings to the table and where the game goes from here. Nevertheless, the physical simulation and creativeness that lies in the game means it’s worth the attention it’s already been receiving.