Race After 1977

from , originally released 31st December, 1969


Previews:

Race After 1977 Hands-On Preview

What do you get when you cross the 1970s, a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and muscle cars? You get Mad Max, but you also get Race After 1977, an upcoming racing game for iOS that really lets you taste the radioactive dust.

Unlike bright and shiny racing games like Need for Speed Hot Pursuit and Asphalt 6, Race After 1977 feels dirty. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, after a nuclear war ravaged the world back in ’77. You join a team of nomads racing to find the last habitable place on Earth. The winner of a series of races will be given GPS coordinates for this rumored paradise.

In Race After 1977, the tracks are all marked by destruction and decay. On the second track, a huge bridge is blown apart in the middle, so you have to hit a jump just right to make it over. There’s also a sports arena with a blasted-open roof, and a series of levels set in a nuclear winter.

Besides the unique look of the game, Race After 1977 also feels different to play. Because of the game’s somewhat haphazard-feeling physics, it’s easy to tip over, or send your opponents flying with a well-timed nudge. The tracks, instead of being flat and smooth, are filled with bumps and jagged edges. We accidentally flipped our car a few times, but there’s a handy reset button for just such an occasion.

The default control option is tilt-based, but we preferred playing with digital touch controls on the sides of the screen. Though there’s no nitro boosts or weapons in this game, the ravaged tracks and crash physics make Race After 1977 feel more like an arcade racer than a simulation.

We started playing through the story mode, where you have to place third or above in a series of races, but we weren’t able to spend the money we won from racing. Instead of buying upgrades, we think that the cash won might be used for Game Center leaderboards in the final version.

Race After 1977 is nearly ready for the App Store. This month, developer Xpect Games will add Game Center support, a virtual steering wheel, and a tutorial to our nearly-complete preview build, and then submit to Apple. We think Race After 1977 fills a nice niche in the App Store racing genre, a grittier alternative to the polished car showroom models. It’ll hit the App Store in the next month.

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Reviews:

Race After 1977 Review

Race After 1977 is a post-apocalyptic game, so it’s set in a brown, ugly, broken-down world. But it’s also a racing game, which means that the people who survived the nuclear winter are still capable of having fun. It goes to show that civilization can crumble and a large percentage of the world population can be wiped out, but as long as some people are around, there will always be sport. It’s reassuring. We’re reassured, anyway.

But underneath the apocalyptic dressing, Race After 1977 is a pretty standard racing game. You pick a car and play through increasingly challenging tiers of races. As you progress, you unlock new cars that have different attributes like acceleration, grip, and suspension. Any car or track you’ve unlocked in the campaign mode becomes usable in one-off races in quick-play mode.

Post-apocalyptic police.

Aside from the Mad Max setting, the best thing about the game is the track variety. There are 10 tracks in total, some of which are composed of wide-open sprawling areas, full of alternate routes, while others are more pinched in and corridor-like. Most of them have a number of jumps and tight turns as well. The levels feel very dynamic, which is fitting for the busted-up setting.

But controls are a key aspect of any racing game, and that’s where Race After 1977 starts to stumble. The default control method is tilt– as it should be, since that’s what feels most comfortable on iOS devices– but the tilt controls here feel sloppy. Slight turns don’t seem to register, so it feels very all-or-nothing when going around corners. The touch control options fare better, but they still feel looser than they should.

A burned-out cityscape.

Possibly on account of the controls, the difficulty levels feel out of whack as well. We found Medium to be several notches too difficult to start on, but Easy was a breeze. Also, you win money from placing in the races, but you can’t ever spend it, which seems like a missed opportunity. It would have been cool if you could spec out your attributes, or at least buy new cars with your winnings. Instead, new cars unlock automatically as you progress through the campaign. Also disappointing is that there’s no multiplayer mode in the game.

Race After 1977 has a great setting, but the control issues and feature omissions keep it from blasting past cream-of-the-crop racers like Real Racing 2 and Need For Speed Shift. With some updates and tweaks it could potentially be a contender, but for now you’ll probably want to hold off.