Ok so this review is aimed more towards the Tech Demo (played over 6 hours of it) than the Early Access main game so far, mainly because the Tech Demo contains a lot more fun to be had (at this present time)
It is refreshing to be able to purchase an Early Access game and have it not crash and burn on me within 5mins of playing. Infact, this game is already so stable that I have actually tried really hard to make it crash without success... Either my computer is better than it appears or the game's physics coding is so damn solid it's very hard to fault.
Play the tech demo under the assumption that restrictions to the physics will be added in the future, because for now, as hilarious as it is, having your car STILL drivable with 1 wheel, no engine, and crushed into the size of a beach ball is a little far fetched, and while it is extremely satisfying to watch it get smashed and mangled into 1000 peices over and over and over in 1000 different ways, the realism is broken after a certain point because it has no killswitch as such.
I am excited to see more from Next Car Game, especially different game modes, tracks, cars etc.
If you enjoy FlatOut, Crashday, GRID or Destruction Derby (the original), then I highly recommend this game, especially the Tech Demo.
Graphics are solid, the destruction physics are some of the most impressive I have ever seen (and I've seeked out games like this for over 15 years).
It also has full controller support even for the very freshly added features (The cannon, added within the last couple of weeks).
NOTE: You need a pretty beasty computer to enjoy this lag free. I suspect the graphics aren't nearly as taxing as the physics, so bare in mind that CPU power is a big player in this game.Very keen to see more from Bugbear.Early Access game: 6/10
(so far, with its current content)Tech Demo Bonus: 9/10
If Bugbear added the physics playground to the Early Access game this would be hard not to give a 10/10 to.... But alas, they have kept them seperate for unknown reasons (they seem like different build versions)
I've also attempted to take the game apart and see if I could port cars from the Early Access game to the tech demo, no such luck, this game in it's current form is NOT very moddable, not in any conventional way that I'm aware of.
As for the cons of the game, well, it is Early Access so I'll try and be fair;
- The title is a bit bland & generic, and doesn't accurately portrey the amount of effort these guys have put into coding such a detailed soft body dynamics engine.
- Only 3 camera modes, which is ok, but it really needs more. Especially in a driving game. (And especially in it's current state)
- There is no driver model as such, there is a driver inside the vehicle, but it is part of the soft body of the car, and thus bends and mangles with the car, funny, but realism breaking.
- The sound design of the car engine is pretty awesome, however, there is only really 1 or 2 variants so far. Gets annoying after a couple of hours
- In the Tech Demo, the edge of the map contains a yellow boundary that repairs and resets your car after driving on it, however, if you miss it (fly over it and off the edge into the void) your car just resets, sometimes nowhere near where you flew off the map. I think this is minor but it too gets annoying having to pause and press Repair All (and lose all the destruction around the map) just to be able to continue driving
- The Early Access game doesn't really have much in the way of instructions or helpers. You and 23 (max) other AI players in a small demo derby arena, obviously trying to be the last surviving, but the problem is no mini map, no hint of WHO is remaining, apart from the # of players left top right of the screen. Few times I've not been able to get to the 1 person left, because their car is still 'alive' but not drivable, ergo they are stuck in the middle of 22 other cars that I also can't get to. There shouldn't be an option for stalemate in demo derby but that's the outcome i've had many times.