Driftpunk Racer Review
Futuristic cyberpunk meets 80s fashion with the release of Speedspark Studio’s Driftpunk Racer. Does it do enough to stand out, or are its retro aesthetics dated in more ways than one?
Driftpunk Racer Review
Players can more or less figure out what you need to do in this title. A racer that has players drifting along, players must skid across one of 10 neon-drenched cityscapes, gathering points along the way. Placing first among the four racers will get you absolutely nowhere – rather, the key to victory is to beat others with your drifting score.
There’s no need to hit those pesky brakes though – simply moving your car to the left or the right will cause a skid that would be right at home in Initial D. As you could imagine, this makes navigating each level difficult. Each stage has a number of curves that are designed for these moments, but it often feels like players have little control over the situation. This is made that much worse with the collision detection and invisible walls created to keep you on track – one bump and any semblance of momentum is thrown out the window. Those using a controller will have an even worse time, as everything is mapped to the analog stick. Holding it forward to move forward and back to brake makes absolutely no sense. Sure, players can enjoy this game one-handed, but it makes it next to impossible to accurately handle races.
It’s not like that will matter that much though, as each level is dreadfully short. With five levels set in the Blade Runner-esque Night Megapolis and five levels set in the Miami-inspired Neon Jungle, the average race takes around a minute. That is a bit on the generous side too – our fastest race clocked us in at 36 seconds. As a result, players can see everything this game has to offer in less time than it takes to watch a sitcom.
There is some incentive to keep playing with its money system. All points are converted to cash, which can then be spent on two alternate rides, each with their own speed, acceleration, and handling ratings. Colors can also be unlocked, but there are not a ton of ways to modify your ride. Prices are a little steep as well – expect to do a number of those same short races to get enough dough.
It should be worth noting that the AI in this game is absolutely atrocious. When it is close to you, it is aggressive, and when it is far away, it finds a way to crash into a wall through its own volition. It can be hilarious to see a car skittishly scoot left and right in an attempt to drift, but the laughter abruptly stops when it tries to slow you down.
Driftpunk Racer’s small selection of tracks and poorly designed controls take away any semblance of enjoyment this game may have had. Don’t be fooled by its futuristic aesthetics – this racer’s a relic.