We've been following the progress of Extreme Gear ever since spotting it for the first time back in late January, but today is the day that Zero Games' Extreme Gear: Demolition Arena [Free] has finally arrived in the App Store. If you haven't been following along, Extreme Gear is pretty much an homage to old-school Destruction Derby from the PS1 days, something I've been hoping for on iOS for a long time. I've spent a good chunk of my day with Extreme Gear, and while it's certainly rough around the edges and has plenty of room for improvement, the bottom line is that smashing into other cars is fun, and Extreme Gear does a great job at letting you do just that.

Visually, it doesn't make a great first impression, but crank up the graphics settings in the options and it becomes a lot better, assuming your device can handle it. My iPhone 6S runs the game flawlessly with all the bells and whistles turned on, but your mileage may vary. Also, while there are a ton of control options, there's no option to move the virtual controls around the screen, and I've found myself missing the steering wheel during crucial moments more times than I care to mention, which is pretty frustrating. Also, there's really only one mode, where you smash into your opponents for points and whoever has the most points when time runs out is the winner. You can play this both online with other players or against AI, but this game is in desperate need of some additional modes, like Last Man Standing or Tag.

However, like I said, Extreme Gear delivers where it really counts: Making smashy. The driving physics are great, and the damage system is especially good with all sorts of dynamic stuff that can affect your car both visually and physically. I've already had tons of genuine laugh out loud moments with either a spectacular crash or crazy pileup of vehicles, making the game worth the price of admission already. Did I mention the price of admission is free? Extreme Gear is free to play, and there's some not-so-great stuff going on with that, but in short if you're used to typical free to play games you'll know what to expect here. It'll be easier to suss out how the pay model affects things after I've spent more time with the game.

Anyway, Extreme Gear: Demolition Arena is free so if it sounds interesting to you then by all means download it and check it out for yourself. My name is Boardumb online, perhaps we'll "run into each other" HEH. There's definitely the core of an outstanding demolition derby game in Extreme Gear, but it's not quite there in this initial release. It's a lot of fun though, so I'd suggest giving it a try and dropping by the forum thread to leave your thoughts or gloat about destroying someone online.

  • bossjaja

    The game is fun enough, but holy crap the IAP is out of control. $2 to remove ads, but you're still stuck with a "fuel gauge" meaning you can only play a little bit at a time? "Unlimited fuel" for a day for $5? Why not a "remove all timers and ads permanently" option for $5-10 or something?

    Fun game, but leaves a bad taste with the IAP, sheesh.

    • VirtualBoyFreak

      Check the game's thread. It seems they'll be adding it in the next update.

    • Pierre-Luc Vettier

      Hi Bossjaja. I'm from the game team dev. We know there's some problems and we're working on it. Some improvements about IAP will be made soon and we will add a "unlock the game" IAP in next update. (It must have been in release version but we experienced some issues.)
      And we will also add soon an internal achievement system that will help players to progress through the game faster and win more Cr, XP and Gold with some funny tasks to do. I hope this could help !

      • rezn

        That's some good news for sure.

      • Sick of Labour

        That's really good to hear, the ability to unlock the game is definitely something I would pay for. Is there any chance of MFi controller support and iCloud saving in future?

      • Pierre-Luc Vettier

        We honestly didn't began to work on controller support. We will work on it (same for Apple TV compatibility), but far later as we have lot of things and content to add and improve for the next 2 months.
        Same for iCloud saving, but the game is currently working with our internal servers which do more or less the same thing.

      • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

        Cool. Facebook saving is probably good enough for now. I always loved DD on PlayStation, even the bit at the end of each arena when your car on fire and not moving well, but you're still fighting to stay alive.

        Seems like this is more of a demolition derby than a race, which is appreciated. The DD series on ps1 fell apart when racing instead of crashing was required.

      • Pierre-Luc Vettier

        That's also our opinion. Arena fights in DD were the big feature of the game. That was cool and punchy.
        We also like the racing modes (we began to work on race modes on EGDA before cancelling it ...), but the brutality of arenas is far more funny.

      • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

        Any plans to add goofy voices? The characters in DD are coming back to me now, "Barmy Army" and their very British pronouncements. I'd pay a little extra for in-app purchases of they were over-the-top stupid like the original.

      • Pierre-Luc Vettier

        We recorded some voices for the game ! (including some "Unreal Tournament-like" voices when creating very hard crashes !)
        Firsts in-game tests weren't very good, but maybe if we will found some time to work on it. I really don't know if it will be on a future update (as we have far more important things to improve before). But it could become an option to enable if people like this kind of stuff.

  • Danté Mariani

    Wow destruction derby was one of first games I got for PlayStation 1. Also got the sequel when it came out!

  • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

    I guess I'm less into the "head shot!" Unreal-style voices as giving each car/driver a little personality. That makes it more fun to go after a particular car, sort of like the Rivals system in newer versions of F-Zero.

    A bit more visual feedback as to the state of each car would be nice as well. If I recall, DD put white smoke on damaged cars and black smoke on dead cars. It looks like you're making dead cars disappear from the arena, which makes sense and declutters the field. I did like the pacing of the old DD game, where everything slows to a crawl as you limp around the messy arena, but that wasn't a good design choice.

    Any plans to add some screen shake or other feedback on how hard you're hitting the other cars?

    Thanks for being here and engaging with the Touch Arcade readers!

    • Pierre-Luc Vettier

      We tried at least to make something close to DD with smoke, but it seems that it's not enough obvious for a lot of players. It definitely needs improvements.
      Messies Arenas full of dead cars will be back when we will add the Survival mode. It's not for next update but it's in our task list.

      Global feedbacks will be improved in next months too. Maybe we'll make some mistakes sometimes, but I believe the current system, despite being far from perfect is a good base to work on.

      Being engaged with fans (or not) of the game is important for us. We know we need to improve the game and it's important to have the more feedbacks possible to deliver a better experience for the next updates ! 🙂

  • one.sixty.four

    Based on the trailer it looks like it runs at about 10 - 15 frames per second. Is that as good as it gets even on new-gen devices? I hope not because the game looks like fun, but with all that constant action and a painful frame rate it seems like it might be a headache waiting to happen.

    • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

      It runs about 30FPS on my 6+. It's free, so why don't you just try it instead of pre-emptively bitching about it?

  • ZeeMonkeyMan

    How do you play online?? I went to multiplayer and something felt off. When I paused the game everyone else paused!! Definitely not real players haha