Atari’s mobile version of Night Driver is much, much the opposite of Tempest 4000. Where Tempest stuck to the old formula, Night Driver shakes things up. Its still in closed testing, but the game build Atari were showing off at GDC is fully playable,and looks polished. So the version that launches should be pretty similar to what I got to play. The game has three modes to appeal to the two very different types of gamers they’re looking to pull into the game.
Classic is almost exactly like the original Night Driver, you’ve got a car going doing a black road on a black background, with white dots as lane markers. In the new version, you can play Classic in a 3rd person point of view, and of course the cars themselves are the new ones, so there is a weird internal art clash going on.
The game also has an Endless Driver mode that lets you cruise down the freeways ad infinitum, because developer Gameahaolic understands the call of the open road. There’s also the ranked Challenge mode for those who want to get their casual eSports action in.
Because its a mobile title, you steer with tap controls, and drift by dragging your finger from one side to another. Which actually makes this game the easiest racer to drift in. However, Night Driver, like the original, is pretty arcade-y. Sure you can swap engines, transmissions, paint jobs, and rims, but you don’t get full detailed specs. Because why would you? It doesn’t use real existing car models. You even get power ups like speed boosts or barriers to avoid damage from grinding on other cars or the walls.
Like any mobile game, it has both soft and hard currency, and you can buy more hard currency with real money. The hard currency is mostly used for unlocks and for continuing a race after you’ve blown up your car. Soft currency is used for the more day-to-day upkeep. And because its online, you get daily and weekly challenged to complete.
Night Driver tries to blend modern gaming with a classic Atari franchise, and I think it mostly works.
Night Driver will release in Spring 2018 for iOS and Android.