Bugbears Next Car Game was an exciting little rumour when it started. Bugbear are undoubtedly best known for the Flatout games which were the best for their time in terms of destructive racing. With Next Car Game they have gone back to their roots here, but with the advancements in tech have been able to create something that can only be described as deconstructive art!
Bugbear had originally looked to Kickstarter for funding the project, but pulled it down after it hadn’t proved as popular as they were hoping. Instead they’ve opted for the Steam Early Access route to help fund the game which paid of massively, creating over $1million in its first week. The Early Access version comes with just a few cars, tracks and event modes, and a lot of greyed out features, but the gameplay is there for you to see.
Currently you have three event types available to you; race, demolition derby and recently added was the figure of eight. The latter is the most entertaining in my opinion, as it allows for a short enough race that even with the carnage that ensues you still have a decent chance of crossing the finish line in one piece. Demolition Derby is of course a lot of fun with pieces of twisted metal flying all over the place as the cars battle to be the last one standing. You really do have to just stay out of trouble if you want to survive any length of time however. The race event shows you the variety in Bugbears environment design, with a nice course layout that leads to some decent racing, but again only if you stay out of trouble. You can easily find yourself trying to limp your car home, swerving to avoid the burnt out wrecks of AI drivers.
On the other hand, you may be limping home because you’re actually stopping to observe the debris. The level of detail in which the cars come apart is insane. Tiny pieces of fenders, bodywork, glass, wheels all break apart from the completely dynamic car model. No two collisions are the same it would seem in Next Car Game. A picture paints a thousand words, so here’s a video:
Next Car Game strikes a perfect balance between realism and excitement, not only with the deformations of the cars, but with the physics. This is shown off no better than in the second part that you gain access to as early adopter, the Playground. They actually call it the “Sneak Peak” but I call it the Playground, because that’s what it is. Basically a series of ramps, barrels, and things purely designed to destroy your car set about sparsely in an otherwise empty world. Challenge yourself to see how far you can jump, how high you can drive on the vertical straight, how many barrels and bars you can knock over, if you can balance along the deathtrap maze, or take on the giant spider or the whack-a-mole mallet. Thank goodness they added in the reset and the repair buttons as you are going to spend a lot of time on your mangled roof, with a great big smile on your face.
If you are a fan of the old Flatout games, the even older Demolition Derby games, or even the more recent Burnout games, then you have got to be pretty excited about Next Car Game. While it is little more than a shell of a tech demo just now, the tech is amazing. You will have endless fun with the destructive part of this game, and if Bugbear can nail the actual racing, single player campaign and multiplayer aspects, then they will have a mighty product on their hands.