There isn't much a publisher can do to spice up a driving game. Sure they can change the plot, shift the location, make it take place on darkened streets for pink slips but at its heart the game still has to be about racing.
Apex is the latest spin on the genre. Instead of going low-tech and illegal, this game is all about the hybrid, cutting-edge and proto-type world of car design and development. At least that's what it's supposed to be about. The idea is that players take on the role of a young car enthusiast who inherits a small garage and the chance to redesign the face of racecars. Unfortunately that face looks all too familiar. Instead of being able to truly shape and build cars that may or may not work in the real world, Apex hands over blueprints for nearly 50 pre-fab prototypes. To be able to build and race those, players will have to unlock them with cash earned through car sales and race wins. Sure you can slap on one of a few pre-designed logos and get to name and pain the car one color, but players really have no say over how the car looks or performs.
The bulk of the game is spent racing, which is as it should be in a driving game, but the racing is lack-luster at best. The game's AI seems determined to keep gamers in the middle of the pack or second place, depending on a player's ability. The only challenge is beating the top driver and even that becomes formulaic once a player realizes that damage to a prototype vehicle isn't permanent. Soon races become more like demolition derbies, where slamming into the leader just puts a player ahead in the game.
Graphics and sound are both passable, but neither are notable, lacking any sort of above par excellence. The split-screen multiplayer looks and plays like a last minute addition with races consisting of only the two gamers.
Overall Apex is a descent game, giving players 80 cars and 50 tracks to choose from, but what really makes it a disappointment is how good it could have been. The idea of being able to design your own prototype and then race it is an excellent one, but it just wasn't carried out very well in this game.