Interstate Drifter 1999 Review
Overall 75

A retro throwback in more ways than one, Ultimo Games brings drifting, pixelated graphics, and CRT filters to the masses with their isometric racer Interstate Drifter 1999. The aesthetics might be on point, but does it have the gameplay to back it up?

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Interstate Drifter 1999 Review

A retro throwback in more ways than one, Ultimo Games brings drifting, pixelated graphics, and CRT filters to the masses with their isometric racer Interstate Drifter 1999. The aesthetics might be on point, but does it have the gameplay to back it up?

Interstate Drifter 1999 Review

Much like the title would suggest, players will be skidding their tires any chance they get in Interstate Drifter 1999. Turning in any four of its main directions will bring players into a drift worthy of The Fast and the Furious franchise.

Mastering your car’s inertia in each of these hairpin turns is the key to victory, as each stage is over a bottomless pit. Mistime one of these angles and players will be flying away to their doom. Your car has a health meter, and though players can recharge their energy along the way, the best runs are those that don’t fly off the track, hit any obstacles, or careen into one of its many walls. A grip power-up can also help in a clutch, allowing players to grab onto the track and steer with ease.

Of course, the game is only as hard as you want it to be. Much like SEGA’s Outrun series, players will be able to choose their route at each junction, with easy, medium, and hard settings available. Don’t expect a tree of choices – there’s only three final destinations – but this is a nice gesture nonetheless. Thankfully each zone varies in aesthetics a great deal, with stages running the gamut from cityscapes to the bowels of hell.

In addition to watching your own hide, players can also collect bits and bytes while taking on rivals. These foes provide a serious challenge, but do encourage players to bring their A-game, especially when dealing with slippery surfaces and narrow bridges. Those that do beat one of these racers will be able to net one of its many unlockables.

On that note, Interstate Drifter 1999 has a bevvy of unlockables for players to discover. Tied to Steam’s achievements, these “medals” can be yours for picking up bits, finishing certain routes, or doing any number of things while on the track. Palettes, screen effects, and cars that vary by speed, strength, and grip can all be yours if you play your cards right.

It’s just a shame that this title is so short. Though it is a free teaser for Interstate Drifter 2000, each route can be finished in around 10 minutes. Additional routes would be nice, but that is likely what the full release is for.

Interstate Drifter 1999 might not have a lot of content, but it does have a lot of heart. Drifting along in its retro world takes some getting used to, but mastering its slippery controls leads to an experience rarely seen in this day and age.

This review of Interstate Drifter 1999 was done on the PC. The game was freely downloaded.
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