SelectButton's Early Access reviews provides valuable insight on a work in progress. The game will be reevaluated once officially released, as the review below is based on the Early Access build of the game at the time of the review's publish date.
Distance is marketed as a survival racing game. If this makes you think of Twisted Metal combined with Gran Turismo, then you are way off. This game does not have missiles, Gatling guns or a crazy clown driving a decked out ice cream truck. It will be you, speeding to the finish line while trying to stay alive as long as possible against the obstacles that the track throws at you.
At first I thought the game was a simple racing game. trying to get the fastest time on all the different tracks. Suddenly giant buzz saws appeared in the middle of the track, lasers cut my car in half, and huge shredders impeded my path. It felt like the environmental hazards were never going to come to an end.
If you have a spare moment in between being shot at or being cut in half, you'll notice the pleasing visual aesthetics. Driving over glass roads and seeing rows of lights as you speed by overpasses and tunnels brings out an euphoric feeling in me, like being transported into a tripped out dream. But once I got past the awe from driving up a perpendicular roads, and flying through portals, I realized there doesn't seem to be any actual objectives. As soon as you reach the end of the track, you'll be warped to the next level.
The Early Access build of Distance comes with a couple different game modes. One is an adventure game mode where you drive through all the included levels, although the developers have already stated that more content will be added soon. The other modes are for fans of arcade style racing, as you'll compete for the fastest time, along with some parkour style challenges. The online mode allows you to compete against other players, to see who can reach the finish line the fastest.
A powerful level editor allows anyone to upload their custom tracks through the use of Steam Workshop. I tried to mess around with the tool, and I'll be sticking to my day job. At the time of writing, there are well over 400 items for download.
After spending hours with the game, the speed of the game is fast enough that it doesn't allow you to memorize the track, and every race seems different from the last one. The background electronic dance music really works well with the trippy science fiction environment. Where the game falls short is the lack of rewards and objectives to keep me playing everyday. Distance will also be available for PlayStation 4 later this year.
Note: The Distance Early Access review is based on a digital PC copy of the game.