Once upon a time there was Nitronic Rush, a racing game developed by students at Digipen, and it was good. There was a lot of potential in the game, which you can still see thanks to it being a free download, and after a successful crowdfunding campaign during the heyday of Kickstarter plus a new name Distance launched on Early Access in 2014. The futuristic racing game has been getting regular updates ever since, and now it’s finally almost time to end its in-development status and graduate to a 1.0 version on September 18 on PC. The PS4 version will be along at an unspecified date afterwards, but shouldn’t be too long a wait.
Distance is a time-trial racer where it’s your car against the clock, tearing down neon tracks over a futuristic city while trying to avoid taking too much damage along the way. Lasers, sawblades, and other destructive obstacles litter the course, but a glancing blow can be shrugged off so long as the glowing remnant of your car has enough left of itself to keep moving to the next healing checkpoint. Jump and soar off ramps while hammering the turbo and you just might earn a time worth bragging about, or use the practice for either online or split-screen mulitplayer racing.
While the basics are the same now as they have been since the start, Distance has gone through a lot of polishing and content updates over the years and the 1.0 release is getting its share of major upgrades. Adventure mode is seeing an almost-complete makeover, Arcade gets new tracks (including some community-made ones) and an all-new progression mechanic, and the level editor is getting access to all the new features created in the months since the last major update. It’s been an incredibly long road from Nitronic Rush in 2011 to Distance 1.0 in 2018, but the finish line is finally in sight.