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iPhone  header logo

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
 
Have Your Say
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Joined:
Apr 2011
Post count:
1
Kuang | 09:42 - 25 April 2011
The only way I've managed to complete races is to use the front view and drop the tilt sensitivity down to around 20%. The problem isn't so much the slippery handling, as that can work well - witness the FlatOut series - but the sluggish screen tilt and the disorienting movement of the car in any chase view. Slightly more subtle but equally frustrating is the auto-correction applied to the end of any slide - if you were already correcting it perfectly well, this just leads to an unprovoked tankslapper.

Incidentally, have you tried to use the wheel controls, but drop the sensitivity down to zero? No matter what you do with the wheel the car simply doesn't turn. Making a mess of the scaling is a major oversight, and one that smacks of minimal quality control. I would have experimented further but the iPod was getting too hot after being thrashed by he laggy graphics engine, so I had to put it down... where it started to melt the cellophane cover on a CD!

To be fair the vehicle design and artwork are pleasant, the tracks are big enough to allow personal and tactical driving style to come into play, and the presentation is generally pretty good. 1977 has a lot of potential if the forthcoming patch addresses the handling issues.
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