Extreme speeds, heart-stopping drifts and neon lights in Level 91 and PQube’s new arcade racing game for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch; we analyze it.
Inertial Drift is the new from the editor PQube with Northern Irish indie developer Level 91 Entertainment, a racing arcade in which the main thing is skid at top speed and link curves from side to side without respite. Thus, drifting enthusiasts have before them the opportunity to fully exploit their favorite automobile discipline through a carefree and colorful proposal, impregnated with neon lights, cell shading graphics, electronic music, fictional vehicles specially prepared for the most aggressive drifts. and unique arcade-style gameplay double stick that will challenge us to overcome the most intense challenges one after another. Welcome to the retro 90s world of Inertial Drift, video game now available in Pc, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo switch; Is it worth it for drifting fans? The answer in our analysis.
Return to the arcade halls
Inertial Drift was born from the idea of recovering the spirit of racing games arcade of arcades, that type of titles in which the pure and simple gameplay takes center stage from the first moment we introduce the currency or, in this case, when we start the game on our favorite platform. New from the Belfast-based creative team offers a light-hearted gaming experience, something that becomes clear after a few moments at the controls, although it contains much more than it might seem at the level of proposal and control of the different cars. And it is that beyond the first impression after passing a tutorial, perhaps, too accessible, we collide head-on with reality, which is none other than one totally unexpected race requirement and that it can provide a somewhat high access window for players with little experience in a genre that advocates fast games and a continuous sense of learning.
But, let us start at the beginning; Let’s get to the starting line and find out what Inertial Drift has to offer at the content level. Surprisingly, the title nothing comes short of options, with different game modes such as a story mode, a challenge mode, an arcade mode, another called Grand Prix and the aforementioned tutorial, as well as multiplayer modes both on split screen and online; Of course, any player will find their favorite game mode (or several of them) with hours and hours of play ahead. But let’s move on to discover the true central axis of Inertial Drift: the counter steering or drifting, the main mechanics to master in order to win the different races and tests in which we will participate, whatever the game mode we dedicate more time to.
Inertial Drift may at first seem like the umpteenth arcade racing game focused on direct fun and with little complexity in its gameplay; Nothing is further from reality. The Level 91 title bets on a completely original mechanics through the double stick, in addition to the upper acceleration and braking triggers, one on each side. And that’s it; This is the main configuration at the level of interaction with the title, a basic design that hides much more depth than it might seem at first glance. So much so, that with the left stick we only slightly modify the direction of the car to face it to one side or the other and it is the right stick that steals all the prominence and the true architect of the skids more brutal than we can imagine.
And it is that by means of slight inclinations of the stick, the car will put more or less of side, arriving at the total cross in the tightest curves, all marked by some intensity bars lower that will mark the force of the skid, although due to the high speeds that we will reach and the frenzy of the action, we will have few opportunities to look away from the road if we do not want to lose precious seconds. And now is when the throttle and brake mechanics come in through the upper triggers, absolutely necessary to fully master the art of drifting and not end up hitting a wall or a guardrail. So much so, that to correctly take each curve at the maximum possible speed and without leaving the road, it will be almost mandatory modulate the different inputs, from the degree of skidding to acceleration or braking, especially in the tightest curves and the narrowest sections, resulting in a game mechanic that responds to the classic “easy to learn and difficult to master”, something that is evident in Inertial Drift from minute one.
Of course, the degree of satisfaction achieved when one begins to master the main mechanics of the game is sublime; It rarely feels so good to pass the front or rear bumper a few inches from a wall at extreme speeds, especially when one does not stop linking curve after curve. Although as we say, things start to get especially serious when we jump from car to car, each with its own characteristics and each more difficult to master. And the leap from basic cars to supercars (or even intermediate models) is exaggerated, since will require a very high level of piloting, perhaps too much for a game that bets on immediate fun and enjoyment at the controls.
At the level of game modes, a story mode stands out that takes us through the different tracks of the game through a somewhat pastel narrative, all based on bland dialogues between pilots through minimally animated illustrations, characters full of clichés from which you will want to skip their dialogue to move into action. The rest of the modes are based on the unlocking of drivers, cars and tracks based on our skills at the wheel; Of course, not everything will be to reach the goal in first position, since enough test modalities are offered to encourage the player to master different aspects of driving, from racing against other cars on the track (there is no option to crash, at most pure ghost style) to time trials, scoring drift-style races, distance elimination between vehicles and more.
Going to the technical level, Inertial Drift is not especially brilliant in its staging, although yes it is effective, betting on cell shading graphics along with a good collection of visual resources, from neon lights in all kinds of elements of the scenes -especially in urban environments-, to sparks from the hits on the body, passing through blur effects, lighting, burnt highlights and more that help enrich the whole, all through a palette of pastel colors that can turn out to be somewhat cloying. Yes, the game moves with ease and it does not suffer from performance drops or other setbacks, giving a pleasant feeling of fluidity at all times. At the sound level, it is decidedly committed electronic although too repetitive, along with sound effects that are not particularly striking, in this sense going somewhat unnoticed.
Where it does show its best face is in its multiplayer options, both online and locally, in both cases for up to two players, with the option of playing the different game modes if the story mode (between 4 and 6 hours, depending on which medals we want to get) seems insufficient. Even the most purist will be able to reverse the controls to experience the counter-steering wheel to its fullest. The rest of the numbers that the title handles are not bad, with 16 unique vehicles and 20 tracks total. The texts also arrive in perfect Spanish.
Inertial Drift bursts into a genre somewhat forgotten today, leaving good sensations, with enough content to entertain any fan of the speed arcade for a long time and betting on a mechanic, that of the double stick drift, as original as it is challenging . His carefree and carefree personality, however, collides head-on with an unexpected level of demand very early on, opening up a world of possibilities for the more technical players looking for a challenge to match. The rest of the players may only be left with the story and some challenges that involve the basic cars, since squeezing the full potential of the fastest and most powerful cars is quite a feat.
- Great feeling of speed and fluidity
- More than enough numbers and options
- Original and challenging gameplay …
- … With a somewhat elevated access window
- Somewhat pastel art design
- Very pounding and repetitive soundtrack
It is not the latest or the most original, it does not have the best execution, but it can be fun if you like the genre. Good, but room for improvement.