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[Review] SkyDrift

SkyDrift is your typical power up arcade racing game, but with planes. Don’t be fooled, this is in no way a bad thing, the game is really good at what it does and, while it may not be the best, it certainly is worth your time. It offers great content for a PSN title, with a decent single player campaign and robust multiplayer options.

The game is fairly simple, but you should always start by playing the tutorial, which will teach you the concepts and controls of the game, I mention this because it does a really good job at it and helps you to get familiar with everything fast and also gives you good tips about the best way to handle the races. As soon as you’re done with that, you can keep going and play though the campaign. The game has 33 single player races in total, separated in 6 main chapters and one Final Challenge which is, by far, the most awesome race. Each chapter get’s increasingly difficult and even on easier difficulties there’s no sure victory. It should take you anywhere between 3 – 5 hours to clear everything once, depending on your skills and it could easily take you another 5 if you decide to beat all levels on hard (which awards you three stars, easy gets you one).

Single player is pretty important, because it helps you unlock most planes and skins (for a total of eight planes with four different skins each) as well as a bunch of badges and medals. These are awarded to you for achieving different feats while playing and are an interesting measure of your progress and deeds. All badges have three different levels (bronze, silver and gold) which are of course more difficult to get. Medals are one of a kind, but not as simple to get. All of them have nice illustrations and feel rewarding when you get them. For all the trophy hunters out there, worry not, there are also 12 trophies for you to get. All this should make you sink in some good hours into the game.

Environments are incredibly detailed and level design is very interesting. On occasion you might feel like the bright animations of the power ups, combined with the high saturation of colors get a little distracting and could potentially lead you to error, but that only happened a couple times. Since you’re not obligated to follow any given course (sort of), it’s important that the tracks are well made and this game gives you some of the most creative levels out there. It’s a shame that only 6 different tracks are available right now (each with a reverse option, that will keep you on edge), but honestly, this is actually good, because it makes it easier to memorize all the nooks and crannies and you will need it, if you want to come out victorious. On top of that there are 3 different racing modes:

Power Race: your run of the mill power up fueled race
Speed Race: no power ups here, instead you get speed rings which will give you a temporary boost (fun fact, if you pass multiple rings fast enough you’ll break the sound barrier)
Survivor: by far the most fun race type there’s. It’s like a power race, but instead of running laps, every minute or so the last plane gets eliminated until there’s only one left

All the races are great entertainment, and the struggle to get the 1st position made me jump and scream (with excitement) many times. Power ups are very straight forward, you’ve got shields, missiles, machine guns, shock waves, repair kits and mines, one thing that was a bit disappointing is you can’t fire backwards and sometimes it’s hard to fend yourself from the enemies behind, specially because mines take a while to show up. You also have a boost that will refill as you complete stunts (like flying close to the ground, or passing through small gaps) you can also transform collected power ups into boosts. Each plane has a different set of skills (speed, acceleration, boost power, armor and maneuverability) and even though they get better as you unlock new planes, none are useless and it can be very strategic to choose one over the other depending on your skills, race type and course. Planes look a bit more cartoony than environments, but they’re cool to look at.

Besides all the single-player races, you can also race online with up to 7 other players. You can obviously choose which level and race type you want to play, but it’s a shame there isn’t a “Final Challenge” option. Another downside is no local co-op, that was very disappointing because power up racing is just the kind of game me and my girlfriend really enjoy playing together. Another sad thing is that I could only find one room once and it crashed so I never got to experience the game online, however I don’t know if this is related to the region I play or not. I’ll take the word of others and say the game could be even better online, because as good as the AI is, real racers are a lot more unpredictable.

SkyDrift is a game with few downsides and while it may not be best of anything it does, it certainly could be the runner up on all the categories, which makes it a excellent game. Good amount of content, with tight controls and awesome gameplay, this is what SkyDrift is all about. Unrestricted entertainment for short or long sessions of gaming, you decide.

[review pros=”Tight controls
Incredibly satisfying gameplay
Great looking environments” cons=”No local multiplayer
Power ups can’t be fired backwards” score=”87″]

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Game was completed before writing this review
Total time played: 6 hours
This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of SkyDrift provided by Digital Reality.

Developed and published by Digital Reality
Available on PSN
Cost – $14.99