GDC 2018: Atari’s Night Driver Hands-On Impression

Friday, April 6th, 2018

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Night Driver | LogoPlatform(s): App Store; Google Play
Publisher(s): Atari
Release Date: Spring 2018
Night Driver Website
Atari Website / Twitter / Facebook / YouTube

One of the slickest looking games that I played during my time with Atari was the latest iteration of Night Driver on an iOS iPad tablet. Night Driver is a driving game for Android and iOS platforms that is meant to be played single-handedly and is part of the ‘endless runner’ genre.

The basic concept of Night Driver is simple: You choose your car out of a large number of options, each of which have different performance, speed, and handling stats. And then as you race across different maps, such as a nighttime lit city to the rural countryside, you have to keep making checkpoints within the time limit and avoiding crashing out out in the process. Night Driver is designed to be played with one hand controlling a virtual joystick. As you play and race other vehicles, you will get to make a real-time choice at the end of each track of where you want to go next, and so on and on until you either time out or crash out.

Night Driver | Racing

Night Driver | Racing

Pick your car, and just keep racing to the next checkpoint without crashing out. Simple enough…right? (Images courtesy of Atari).

After my hands-on time with Night Driver, I have a confession to make: I crashed. A lot. The key thing with that, though, is that the one-handed controls were tight, the other vehicle AI wasn’t sloppy, and I felt like that I deserved to crash each and every time. That being said, I did get somewhat better towards the end of my (all too brief) time with the title. This is a game that you can’t just play while distracted. If you’re going to play Night Driver, you are going to have to focus on playing it and driving the car without crashing.

Night Driver | Gorgeous

This is a gorgeous game, and the tracks are stunning to look at. (Image courtesy of Atari).

All that being said, there is absolutely no question that this is a gorgeous game. The tracks are beautiful, the cars are striking, and I kept wanting to slow down and just enjoy the racetrack world around me. Night Driver is not a cheap, hastily thrown-together ‘endless runner’ game. Instead, Night Driver is clearly a labor of love that a lot of time and effort was put into to make this free-to-play game look as best as it can, and it really enhanced my enjoyment of my hands-on demo as a result.

Night Driver | Car

These graphics and cars are top-notch quality graphics, especially for a free-to-play game. (Image courtesy of Atari).

As you progress further in Night Driver, you can start to upgrade and equip your car with various accessories to improve your vehicle’s raw performance, change its looks, and give it perks such as after-market boosts and damage shields. Because I did not get to try these out first hand, however, I can’t tell how well these are implemented in the game.

Night Driver | Upgrades

Modify your car to make it the best one possible in Night Driver. (Image courtesy of Atari).

Overall, I had fun playing Night Driver. My only concern about this game is if there is enough sustainable content to keep people coming back to it once they unlock everything they want for their car(s) of choice and see all the tracks, but I have faith in Atari to keep the content flowing long after release.

Night Driver is coming out in Spring 2018 for the App Store and Google Play.



What kind of car would you like to drive in Night Driver? Did you ever play the Atari classic version?

Let us know in the comments below!

About Quentin H.

I have been a journalist for oprainfall since 2015, and I have loved every moment of it. Do you want to do an interview? You can reach me at interviews@oprainfall.com