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Race After 1977

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

A real fixer-upper

Product: Race After 1977 | Developer: Xpect | Format: iPhone | Genre: Racing | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: US | App version: 1.0.0
Race After 1977 iPhone, thumbnail 1
In the post-apocalyptic world of Race After 1977, everything has been dinged or destroyed. Not just buildings and natural landscapes, but the vehicles too.

Poor handling ensures the cars feel as dingy as they look - it's what you'd expect from an old ride that survives a cataclysmic event. Yet, it's not what you want out of a rough and tumble racer. It's a flaw that unintentionally echoes the game's doomsday setting, but unfortunately makes it less than enjoyable.

Together with noticeable slowdown in the graphics, the glaring lack of multiplayer, and absence of vehicle customisation in the single player campaign, Race After 1977 needs serious remodelling.

Who's that lady?

The concept of revving up a bunch of banged-up vehicles for off-road races across the wasteland is great, and in this regard Race After 1977 is awesome. Watching the crown on the Statue of Liberty bob on the horizon as you zip across a dusty plain is undeniably cool, even if the racing isn't as thrilling.

Much of the problem has to do with the controls - specifically how they relate to vehicle handling. Regardless of the control scheme employed - accelerometer, virtual buttons, or virtual steering wheel - the handling is slippery, floaty, and downright tricky.

Hydroplaning without the water

Steer left or right and your car slides in that direction, the vehicle shifting in orientation (drifting) rather than turning.

It's enormously frustrating because even when you go to turn at a slight bend, your car goes into a slide. Beyond complicating the handling, it artificially increases the difficulty of racing because it's tough to maintain speed through turns.

Fluctuations in the game's stability also make racing tough. Graphical slowdown - even when played on a freshly booted iPhone 4 - pops up unpredictably, resulting in stuttering graphics. It's unfortunately worse on older handsets.

Missing MP

Adjustments to these technical demerits are possible and likely coming, though Race After 1977 has other issues that put the brakes on its potential.

The omission of multiplayer not only limits the game's replay value, but it means the game fails to capitalise on the inherently competitive nature of racers. At least local multiplayer should be supported, if not online play through Game Center (which is integrated for leaderboards).

While the length of the single-player campaign is just right, it requires more depth. Introducing light role-playing elements such as upgradable vehicles, customisable parts, or even driver stats would give the experience a bit more weight and keep you invested in the experience.

As it is, Race After 1977 expects you to come back solely for its slick visuals - admittedly, they're pretty nice - but with such poor handling and missing features, it's difficult to be compelled back into the dilapidated driver's seat.
Race After 1977
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 25 April 2011
Poor handling and missing features make Race After 1977 feel too much like the dingy vehicles that roll across its post-apocalyptic landscape
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