It’s been a long time coming, but a new build of Radial-G is finally on its way…
Ever since the first demo was released for the DK1, Radial-G has promised to be the ultimate sci-fi racer for the Oculus Rift. Melding gameplay elements from F-Zero with Wipeout, it featured a single hover ship and a single track, but it blew us away. Now, five months later, a brand new build is coming December 11th on Steam Early Access, and we’ve been lucky enough to take it for a spin.
There are three new tracks set across a single environment in the latest build, each winding through outer space in death-defying fashion. First is Asteroid Sprint. It’s currently our favourite track, and it emphasises speed and quick wits while asteroids whizz by before crashing into debris in the distance. Next is the Processing Plant, which is probably the most difficult track in the game with fast turns and multiple hair-raising splits in the track that twist and turn over bends that are impossible to follow. Finally there’s the Dead Zone, which is a long track centered around a derelict space station, one with vivid neon lights and twisting sections that snake around each other. Three new ships are also included in the game: the Onyx MKII, the Viper and The Hound. Each has differing speeds, shield strengths and size.
Perhaps the most impressive new features of the game are its track obstacles and additions. First up are splits in the track that break it apart before weaving each segment back into one. If you mis-judge the split then you’ll fall off the track and get sucked into a crackling fork of lightning that destroys your ship. It’s dramatic stuff, and it means you’ll lose precious lap times. Next are the jumps that throw your ship high above the track. Not only do they give you a brief birds-eye view of what’s ahead but they also boost your ships speed to a blistering speed. The game also introduces inverted sections that flip your ship off the track and onto the roof. The inverted sections tend to include more boost pads, so they’re worth investigating during a race, and they also re-flip your vehicle when the roofed section comes to an end. These new additions to Radial-G dramatically improve the gameplay experience, and add new forms of strategy to each race.
On a technical level the game runs incredibly smoothly on our test PC (powered by a Core i7 and Geforce GTX 970). It ticks all the boxes, with 3D menus, positional/head-tracking, timewarp rendering and even DK1 support. We didn’t see a single stutter, and each track loaded quickly from the main menu. Additionally, we didn’t suffer from any motion sickness, even while spinning around tracks at high-speed.
The Early Access Build also promises to include multiplayer support, although at the time of writing we didn’t have anyone to play against. With regular races, Death Races (where there is no shield re-charge, and once you’re dead, you’re dead), plus Elimination (where the last player from each lap is removed), there should be plenty of competitive gameplay on offer.
So when can you expect to play the final game? The team at Tammeka Games hopes to run the Steam Early Access build for three months while they polish the game and monitor how its multiplayer features work with real players; so you can expect to play the full game towards the end of February 2015. That’s not long to wait, and it’s shaping up to be the de-facto racing game for the Oculus Rift. For now, make sure to bookmark the Radial-G Steam page where you’ll soon be able to join the game.