Hot Rod Creeps from Cryptozoic Entertainment is a card-driven racing game with a distinctive style. Despite the garish artwork, though, there’s sophisticated game design under the hood.

At the start, players choose individual racing teams, which could be Epic Battle Wizards, Monsters, the Underworld, Food Fighters, Aliens, or Rockabilly. This choice gives them a unique deck of cards with which to move around the track and interfere with their opponents. During the game, players also have the opportunity to upgrade their cars, which is represented by adding new cards to their decks. Thus, there’s also a deck-building aspect to Hot Rod Creeps. So If during a game a car takes damage (say from going around a corner too fast) that’s represented by adding useless, hand-clogging damage cards to a discarding cards from the player’s draw stack (referred to as the “gas tank”). If the gas tank runs out, the car can’t move any more until it spends a turn in the pit stop (where the deck is reshuffled).

Hot Rod Creeps is on its way to retail, where it’ll be available for $45. The game accommodates up to 6 players and will include 50 pieces (including hazards) for building customized tracks.

Updated 9/14/2012.