Drift. Wow. I am just coming out of a long Drift playing session to write this review and I am pretty stunned. By the speed, by the art design, by this game that can only work in VR. Imagine Drift as a roller coaster ride just that it’s you who determines where the roller coaster is going, there are no rails. Imagine being in a Matrix training program, but rather than Kung Fu you are learning to become the perfect bullet that never misses its target. That’s Drift.
And you are indeed within a training program. It might even be in the Matrix, who knows. We only know that the program was a constructed by a Dr. Kwong a mysterious person who loves octopussys and wants to help you to become perfect. We don’t get to meet Dr. Kwong though, we only hear the voice of a Walter who leads us through the training program. Think of Portal’s GLaDOS only in male and less evil. It’s charming and well done.
You start each level with the push of a button and the craziness starts. You are a bullet that gets shot into the virtual worlds of Drift. At absolute breakneck speed! You can control the path the bullet takes simply with your gaze. Look to the right for example and that’s where you are going. You are in absolute control flying through the levels. Your objective is to reach the goal of each level, a blue and shining object that needs to be found first though.
If you hit something else on your way to your goal you lose and have to start from the very beginning again. And there are lots of things in your way in Drift. Thankfully you can activate a slow-motion mode by pushing your motion controller’s touch pad. Without this function you could probably not even finish a single level in Drift. These slow-motion phases however are limited to around 5 seconds and once you have used up all your slow-motion quota there is no stopping the bullet until you reach your goal or until you collect a green diamond. Those diamonds help you to refill your slow motion quota and therefore are substantial to finishing levels.
As you might have guessed Drift is not for the faint of heart. This game is hard, really really hard. You will need to remember how to fly and try a level over and over again before you master it. At least your flight through Drift is leaving a trail behind, so the next time you have to try the level again you see how you flew in the last try. This is an enormous help on your way to the exit. Sometimes it is really hard to find the exit though and the game can even become very frustrating when you are flying around in circles and have no idea where to go. (Hint: there is a window somewhere on the right buildings in the superhero level. You are welcome.)
Drift’s art style is very comparable to that of Rez, with it’s low polycount and its quite psychedelic nature. Have you ever wished not to be bound to the rails in Rez? Now is your chance and you are free to float around in Drift! Each level has its own atmosphere, no level is like the other. At one moment you are flying through interconnected rooms, next you are within a pinball just to fly through a superhero movie next. It’s nice and only hindered by the speed that does not allow you to take in all of the artwork that you are flying through. Good thing that every Saturday you can use as much slow-motion as you want so you could revisit the levels and have a closer look at what you had been flying by. Also I am sure quite a lot of you will look forward to Saturdays to beat this game.
Drift is made for VR and it can only work in VR. You are deeply involved in this world since you are flying through it from the first person perspective. Who had thought that we would ever become flying bullets.
The game is so intense that you will have a hard time playing the game seated. This would only work in a good swivel chair, if at all. When I was playing the game I was standing up and often went down and bent my knees in order to avoid obstacles. It’s good that Daydream VR does not have any cables attached to the headset because you would run into serious problems with this game.
Drift is fast and it’s first person. It definitely pushes the limits of comfort. I have played hours in VR until this point in time now but after the first half hour of Drift I had to make a break to relax and calm down again from this crazy ride in VR. However, after a while I wanted to get back into VR to finally beat that level. And after a while you do get used to speeding in VR.
Drift is not for everybody. Those who don’t enjoy roller coasters in real life or get sick easily by the VR simulations don’t need to bother, Drift is not for you. Also players that easily get impatient and just want to advance through games as soon as possible should look elsewhere.
Drift is for those kind of gamers who love a real good challenge. Those who get their kicks out of completing incredibly hard levels that can only be beaten by remembering each obstacle and trying a level over and over until they have fully mastered it. Those people will love Drift. Those people will worship Drift. Drift is a gift for the real hardcore gamer and those who would like to see if they have what it takes to become one.