It’s been a long journey for the spiritual successor to the Demolition Derby games.
After a long time in the woods as Next Car Game, which involved a cancelled Kickstarter campaign and years of retooling development, the FlatOut 1 & 2 alumni finally launched their demolition racer last week.
It’s an incredible accomplishment given how rough the road has been: Next Car Game was originally scheduled for release in 2014, and it’s spent 1611 days in early access, which must be a record of some kind.
That extended development has paid off for Wreckfest, though. The first iteration on Steam was as a tech demo designed to encourage early access buyers. The first major updates from there added a couple of tracks (one dirt, one tarmac) and continued iterations of the underlying physics and damage models. The game has a full career mode now, multiplayer, challenge modes featuring school buses and lawn mowers, Steam Workshop integration and more.
And for the most part, a lot of backers have been turned around. The game is sitting at a user rating of 72% from just under 7000 reviews, with a 88% user rating from 630 reviews in the last month.
Positive reviews have praised the visuals, specifically the particle physics that crop up every time you slam into a car, hit a wall or plow through tyres on the side of the road. The arcade-style racing has been likened to the original Destruction Derby games, with a number of users enjoying the ability to race lawn mowers against school buses.
Common criticisms include an AI that’s passive-aggressive at best against other AI racers, too much similarity between events in the campaign mode, a lack of variety in the available tracks, and bugs including some performance issues.
Here’s what users are saying about Wreckfest: