When the review code for this one flew into our email, I jumped on it because I’m a huge fan of combat racers and boy was I surprised!
Platforms: Xbox360, Playstation 3
Genre: Combat Racer
Developer: Digital Reality
Publisher: Digital Reality
Price: 1200MS Points/$15 Playstation Network
SkyDrift is developed and self-Published by Digital Reality a deceptively small publisher/developer with some pretty interesting deals. Armed with a Namco Bandai distribution deal and a collaborative project with Suda 51, this Hungarian company is anything but small-time.
Don’t let the name deceive you, SkyDrift isn’t Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift in the sky, in fact it’s nothing like it. What it feels like is Diddy Kong Racing on Steroids. First starting off the game, the tutorial is deceptively boring. Pull the right trigger to fly, left trigger to slow, and the sticks to move. At first I was getting a little angry because not only did the 500mb Xbox Live Arcade game take way too long, the tutorial was boring as balls, but once I got into the real game, I was blown away.
SkyDrift is intense. From the very start you’re fighting for power ups, dodging missiles, and dog fighting mid race to secure the coveted lead. The main “resource”, for the lack of a better term, are the speed boosts. You gain a boost meter that you can activate at any time by destroying enemies, performing tricks, or converting your power ups into speed, but that’s just one layer of this game. Being able to pick up and upgrade up to two power ups adds a little strategy to the races. To deepen the experience, using power-ups such as shields to block oncoming damage or successfully dodging a homing missile by dipping or diving at the right moment will also reward you which feels fun, and adds more stress on top of the “be first” objective.
It may be that I haven’t played a combat racer in a long time, but hearing that distinct lock-on on noise from the missiles put me on edge and I could feel myself thrusting the controller for that extra speed boost so I could lose the missile around the corner. In addition to the lock-on noises the sound is clear, crisp, and visceral. Machine guns have a deep rumble, EMP shocks are satisfying and electric, and hearing the double kill sound bite by knocking out two opponents is just icing on the cake.
Visually, SkyDrift is impressive. Through each of the seven courses, waterfalls, erupting volcanoes, and collapsing bridges add to this visually stunning game. My only gripe was that on certain levels it was hard to tell where the invisible walls were and found myself crashing into somewhere I wasn’t supposed to go, but more often than not I was surprised that I could go into certain areas or go over an overpass which I was almost sure I couldn’t without crashing.
Now, I was only able to play the campaign because after trying to find games online it seems to me that the community just isn’t there which was very disappointing because there is no local multiplayer. I was baffled when I found out that I couldn’t grab a few drunken friends and shockwave a group of flying alcoholics. To supplement this lack of local multiplayer DkyDrift features three equally exciting and fast game modes, 32 unlockable skins, and 7 planes with different strengths and weaknesses.
The price is another pain point for me. Zipping pass the typical 800MS points ($10) SkyDrift will cost you 1200MS Points or $15US. I’m not going to say what constitutes “Worth” but with a price point akin to high profile releases like Castle Crashers players will be asking why.
At the end of the day I would highly recommend SkyDrift to anybody looking to off load a few bucks into their Xbox or Playstation who are looking for an excellent combat racer. With every race feeling like a battle for survival and stunning visuals this is a game that will impress everybody. I often found myself yelling while trying to dodge missiles and letting out an exhausting sigh as I crossed the finish line. In Short: This game is fucking fun