As a non-simulation-styled racing game, Apex's physics don't need to be terribly accurate, but the game's physics are definitely less than satisfying, even taking into account the genre's lax take on reality. The cars are very static on the track, and you're never really given any feedback about your car's handling. A little jolt from the controller's rumble sensors when turning would have been a nice touch here. Any time a car leaves the ground, it seems to do so in an unrealistic and silly-looking way--it's not unheard of to see cars up on one rear wheel, slowly gliding up the track for no good reason, then hitting the wall on a turn and slowly gliding back to earth. But the biggest problem with the game's physics is the way it handles collisions. There's no penalty for hitting other cars--though you'd think that you would want to keep your concept car looking nice for potential buyers--and bumping your way around turns by sliding out into your opponents is an easy way to turn sixth place into first place any time you see a 90-degree bend in the road. Once you're in the lead, keeping the lead is as easy as occasionally switching to the rear view to make sure that you're blocking the other cars from passing you on the straightaways and making sure that you're not spinning out around corners. Even if you do let a car occasionally pass you, once you've gotten down the finer points of ramming the lead car to swing around corners without losing much speed, regaining the lead is never much of a challenge.
All in all, Apex has some neat ideas, but none of them are executed very well.
Though its appearance doesn't surpass other Xbox driving games, like Project Gotham Racing and Rallisport Challenge, Apex's graphics are still the best thing about it. It's a pretty no-frills presentation, but it makes use of the standard Xbox driving game feature set, from lens flare to bump mapping. The game also has a pretty sterile look to it. You'll occasionally see sparks flying out of the wheel well of a damaged vehicle, but you won't see too much smoke from the tires, and you'll never see any patches of rubber from skids or burnouts. The car models for the licensed cars look pretty nice, but most of the concept cars--the ones you'll be driving all the time in dream mode--aren't terribly exciting. Some wilder designs, or at least the ability to design your own cars, wouldn't have been too out of place here, considering the game's less-than-realistic driving. Nevertheless, Apex does manage to look impressive for the most part, especially if you don't look at it too closely.
You can and should use a custom soundtrack with Apex. The music that comes with the game is really repetitive and grows tiresome very quickly. The game's sound effects are pretty much par for the course, though collisions sound woefully understated.
All in all, Apex has some neat ideas, but none of them are executed very well. Concept cars make great material for a racing game, and perhaps including some actual concept cars from licensed manufacturers would have made the game more attractive to car aficionados. Letting players actually make meaningful decisions about the concept cars would have been much cooler than what is essentially a pretty shell for the standard method of unlocking new vehicles in a driving game. And in the end, Apex's drab driving and painfully dim AI drivers drag down an otherwise interesting idea.