On August 13th, THQ Nordic showed off a preview of Wreckfest Mobile, a demolition derby-themed racing game with soft-body physics developed by Bugbear Entertainment. The game was initially released on PC in 2018 after a lengthy stint in Steam’s Early Access program and has since spread to Playstation, Xbox, and Switch, finding tons of success along the way. At Gamescom, we’ve gone hands-on with the upcoming mobile port to see if it stacks up as a smashingly enjoyable experience on the small screen.
Wreckfest is the spiritual successor to FlatOut, a 2005 racing game also developed by Bugbear. In Wreckfest, you’ll choose from a selection of vehicles to take into various races or demolition derbies, from lawnmowers to semi-trailer trucks. The game includes soft-body damage modeling; damage is represented realistically on your vehicle and can affect your car’s performance. For example, if you take too much damage to your side, you may find your wheel bent out of shape, hindering your steering.
Wreckfest is currently being demoed at Gamescom on a Samsung Galaxy Tab S8, and we’ve tested the game using the touch-screen controls. So far, there are no lags or frame skips, an impressive achievement considering the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes for a demanding racing game. We weren’t able to push the physics engine to its limits, but the game looks more than adequate for most races. There was some slight pixelation, which indicates that the anti-aliasing may need to be increased. While the Galaxy Tab S8 is the latest in Samsung’s tablet line, it’s also the least powerful out of all the Galaxy Tab S8 models; performance isn’t likely to be an issue here as long as you have one of the latest Android phones or tablets.
While the flawless performance is commendable, the touch controls could use some work. You’ll control your car via three inputs, a slider to steer left or right, a brake button, and an accelerator button. The steering is particularly tricky and extremely sensitive, so we had to let go of the screen to avoid oversteering constantly. But as this is an early alpha, the developer has plenty of time to tweak the controls. You can customize your controls by changing the button places, so don’t worry if you’re concerned about thumb positioning. While the developer didn’t provide an opportunity to test at the booth, controller support is being worked on so you can ideally play the racer with one of the best Android controllers available once Wreckfest lands on mobile.
Apart from the controls, Wreckfest appears to be identical to the PC and console versions, so you’ll find the same array of single-player and multiplayer options. A local mode supports up to 20 people – perfect for school lunch breaks or a party game.
Unfortunately, we don’t yet have any information on a release date, but seeing that Wreckfest Mobile is still in early alpha, don’t be expecting it to drop next week; There’s still more work to be done. In the meantime, you can try some of the best Android games to tide you over.