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Video Game / Distance

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The Array is our new home. Shame that an anomaly is about to try to use it to teleport to Earth...
Distance is a survival racing platformer set in a Tron-like world, which blends together arcade-style racing with parkour and a touch of horror, forcing players to drive through deadly Sectors by making good use of the car's abilities to jump, rotate and even fly. It was created by Refract Studios and released on September 18th 2018 for PC, with a PlayStation 4 version announced for some later date.

Distance has three complete campaigns which players can go through. The first, simply known as the Adventure Mode, tasks players to race through The Array to stop a mysterious threat. The second, Lost to Echoes, harkens back to a game which the members of Refract Studios made before they became Refract: Nitronic Rush - allowing players to return to the setting and face a new threat to Nitronic City. The third one, Nexus, was released with the V1.1 update and is a short mini-campaign which is less story-heavy than the prior two.

Not to be confused with either the forum roleplay game, or the 2001 Utada Hikaru album.


Distance provides examples of:

  • Achievement System: Notably, several achievements aren't just Bragging Rights Reward, but they unlock something like cheats, tracks and new skins.
  • All There in the Manual: In the artbook released to Kickstarter backers, the 'boss' of Adventure Mode is called "The Archaic", while the main antagonist of Lost to Echoes is referred to as the "Echo Engine".
  • Always Close: Regardless of how fast you are through the sectors, you will always start Enemy, the final sector of Adventure Mode outside the credits, with at most three minutes on the clock, and when you complete the third and final phase of the 'boss fight', on return to the Array, there are about 3 seconds left on the clock - enough time to see the 'boss' explode before the portal to Earth opens.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The Adventure Campaign ends with your car, apparently, having defeated the anomaly and returning to the base. Upon crossing the final door, however, the game suddenly freezes for a brief period of time, showing a log on-screen. Then, a mechanical arm with a laser and a buzzsaw comes out from the ceiling as the car levitates towards it, apparently to be dismantled, but the door shuts before we can actually see what happens next. Considering the events occurred during the course of the campaign, this ending is open to several interpretations.
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  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Completing certain Achievements unlocks new skins for your car.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Obstacles that pop out of nowhere have a colored outline or marker on the ground before they appear, so you don't crash into something you didn't see coming.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 0 on the Array due to the anomaly virus, while the player causes a Class X (potentially X-4) Apocalypse Wow at the end of the Lost to Echoes story by deleting the ECH_OS Operating System which the server(s) that Nitronic City was running on was using.
  • April Fools' Day: In April 1st 2019, the devs released an update that allows you to add an electronic sloth to your car from the cheat menu, named "Preservational Booster Sloth". They even made a trailer in French language advertising it like a perfume.
  • Blackout Basement: Abyss, Sector 11. Nearly the entire stage is pitch black and you can only see ahead thanks to your car's front lights. For a good reason.
  • Cool Car: Just like in Nitronic Rush
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to Nitronic Rush's story, Distance has a few jumpscares which it releases during the Adventure Mode campaign. Although some of the ones in the beta were altered.
  • Deadly Walls: If you reach certain parts of the stage, like the bottom, or you go too far in the wrong way, you'll encounter a red Beehive Barrier that will instantly destroy you upon touch.
  • Diegetic Interface: The entirety of the HUD is projected on the car's rear window, or the dashboard if you change view. The only exception is the speedrun timer.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Your thrusters can be used to fly. It requires some practice, but once you get the hang of it you can go anywhere you want without wings. There's even an achievement for finishing a specific stage this way.
  • Difficulty Spike: Lost to Echoes is considerably harder than the Adventure Mode. Most notably, for the entirety of Lost to Echoes, you are not allowed to use the flight ability, which could otherwise be used to recover from falling off of the track or to skip certain sections of the map.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Buzzsaws, lasers, obstacles suddenly appearing and impossible roads that only a car like yours can traverse. The environment really doesn't like you.
  • Flying Car: Your car can spread wings in the form of their front doors and fly for a short period of time before the core overheats. Some levels however either disable this entirely or have areas which corrupt your ability to fly, forcing you to platform through the level. All of this unless you mastered the use of thrusters.
  • Genre Shift: Sector 11, titled Abyss, is where Distance turned from a simple Platforming Survival Racing game, into a Platforming Horror Survival Racing game, as this is where you first get to see the real influence of the Anomaly. This is exemplified by the Tunnel interactive cutscreen.
  • Guide Dang It!
    • You can unlock the Interceptor if you find its components hidden in the Lost to Echoes stages of the Campaign. Problem is, that's no easy task unless you know where to look. Hint: try looking for roads that are not part of the main track.
    • You can also unlock an additional secret campaign level named "The Other Side". How? You have to search through all Lost to Echoes stages in the Campaign, and find... crabs. There's one in each stage and they're pretty well hidden. Without a guide, they're nearly impossible to find on their own.
      • Think that's enough secrets? "The Other Side" secret campaign also has a secret objective itself you can complete!
    • If you press the respawn button again right after exploding, you respawn instantly instead of a few seconds later. The game doesn't tell you this.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Laser traps and buzzsaws can shear your car in half along all three axes. You can keep driving if only your top was destroyed (though you lose your Diegetic Interface), but losing some of your wheels means you'll take more damage dragging along the ground until you either explode or reach a checkpoint, which regenerates all the lost parts.
  • Interface Screw: The HUD on your car will glitch in case of a bad landing or something strange is about to happen. The latter case, sometimes, results in the entire screen glitching ominously.
  • Large Ham: The announcer from Nitronic Rush is back, and he's just as much of a large ham here as he was back then.
  • Laser Hallway: Certain stages go all out with lasers. Some of them even sport laser grids that you have to through with a well-timed jump to avoid being sliced.
  • Le Parkour: The game's main gimmick. Your car can go pretty much anywhere, including the ceiling. Even the scenery has collisions and, if you can reach it, you can drive there too.
  • Level Editor: Distance sports an extremely thorough editor: not only you can build the track but the entire environment too, and make your own Scenery Porn.
  • Mini-Game Credits: The credits are pretty much a playable extra stage.
  • Mood Whiplash: There are moments where the Adventure Campaign goes from tense ultra-fast platforming segments to a creepy and/or atmospheric stroll.
  • Nitro Boost: As an ability - but mustn't be overused, otherwise your car will overheat and explode.
  • Nostalgia Level: The Lost to Echoes campaign is this to Nitronic Rush.
  • Ominous Visual Glitch: Happens from time to time during the Adventure campaign, but it's particularly prominent in Sector 11.
  • Organic Technology: One of the unlockable cars, the Encryptor, is pretty much a skeleton anatomically resembling a car. More precisely, it looks like a skeletal version of the Spectrum.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Trackmogrify mode generates tracks based on whatever you type into it.
  • Scenery Porn: Just in the standard Adventure, you'll go through a futuristic city, a hellish electronic landscape, and even in space, where it gets quite cinematographic with a view of the Earth below you as you float in zero gravity. After that, there are several other tracks in Arcade Mode (including user made ones), each one of them sporting stunning visuals.
  • Sequence Breaking: If you're skilled enough, you can complete some stages by going off-road. You can fly, drive on the scenery or float with your thrusters, allowing you to skip entire portions of a track (hell, the developers even hid teleporters in some stages) and avoid triggers for some cutscreens.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spiritual Successor: To Nitronic Rush
  • Timed Mission: Played With. In the Adventure Mode, there is a 4-hour time limit before a teleporter would try to teleport an anomaly/virus to Earth, and said time limit is shown on the car and on certain holographic billboards. However, the timer is automatically set to a predetermined time at the start of each stage, and Adventure Mode can be cleared in less than an hour, so it is more there for story-related reasons. You do get a Non-Standard Game Over if you let it run out, though.
    • Inverted with regards to Sector 01a - while the timer still runs down in the Array sections of the level, in the virus sections of the level, the timer is paused - and regardless of how quickly you take out the virus in the three phases, the timer will always have decreased to about 2 minutes after the first phase, less than a minute after the second, and only two or so seconds after the third and final phase.
  • Title Drop: During the Adventure Campaign, the intercom voice will reveal that the teleporting system is known as "Project Distance".
  • Tron Lines: Some cars and stages have a hint of them, but they're very prominent on the Interceptor. In Lost to Echoes, they're nearly everywhere.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: You start off in Sector 17, the Transport Sector, and have to make your way to Sector 01, the Teleportation Chamber. And yet, Sector 01 is split into three different sectors itself. Not only that, but One, Two, Skip a Few is also in effect - as the sectors you visit are, as follows: 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 11, 09, 06, 05, 04, 03, 02, 01c, 01b and 01a, in that order.
  • You Are Number 6: #650782 is a number which relates to the player during Adventure Mode.


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