Absolute Drift isn’t a racing game, it is a driving game. In fact, a timer is only used in select segments where the player needs to hit a certain score within a time limit. No, this is a game about control, precision, and taking full command of your vehicle. Although it is rather difficult to master, there is something therapeutic about this drifting sim.
The minimalist visual style merges with the gameplay quite well to create a contemporary presentation through and through. In comparison to the landscape, the car that is controlled is a tiny shadow on screen. This provides a sense of scale necessary to complete the numerous drift-related tasks while showing off the simple but still appealing backgrounds.
Absolute Drift is a title that requires a level a commitment to succeed, even in the opening segments. In order to earn points and complete most tasks, the player will need to drift between pillars, whip around corners, or skid around obstacles. This task is much easier said than done as creating a perfect drift requires a precise amount of speed, control, and actually refrain. It took me while to figure out that holding the accelerator isn’t how to perform well, again, because this is a driving game and not a race. Whether feathering the gas pedal or pumping the breaks, learning how to drift is extremely difficult. Sure, you might be able to pull off a quick half second drift, but then you will lose your multiplier as soon as you slam into that wall. The car moves with certain amount of weight it is difficult to determine. It is solid yet slippery, weighted but floaty.
The contemporary presentation is only amplified by the approach to gameplay. Instead of simply racing around a track or dropping the player in a skatepark-like arena, the player actually navigates a large space that is essentially an open world. In this hub space, the player can complete tasks, like drifting between two points or jumping over a ramp, or can enter challenges. These challenges grade the player in many categories, tasking them to complete them all to earn those coveted checkmarks. Once enough have been earned, the next section becomes available and the process repeats. This open world provides a “go ahead and drive around but take on those challenges when you are ready” approach that feels friendly and fresh. For those that don’t want to drive from challenge to challenge, they can quickly be selected from the main menu.
Perhaps the coolest part of completing challenges is the ghost and leaderboard function. When a challenge is completed, the player is given the option to try again with or without their own player ghost, or can face against the current world record holder for that particular event via ghost download. At the time of this review, most of these ghosts are empty as there were only a few players playing pre-release, but can imagine this feature to be rather entertaining. Chances are, you are going to suck at most of these challenges so having a built-in YouTube-like play back feature with the most talent players will be something special and could make you a better player.
Absolute Drift isn’t an easy game but it is still enjoyable. The casual open world and lack of timer creates an atmosphere that is just as modern as its visual style and soundtrack. Challenges are presented in a way that forces the player to become better. For those willing to stick with it have the potential to become drifting pros, and I must say, pulling off your first multi-second controlled drift without slamming against a wall is shockingly satisfying. Be warned however, the learning curve is rather high and some players will prefer racing as opposed to earning style points.
Better Than: any Fast and the Furious movie
Also Try: Snake Pass
Wait For It: a MicroMachines sequel
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com