Doesany of you still remember Matchbox or Micro Machines? Those toys played a lead role throughout most of my childhood. When we received a review copy of Star Drift, it felt almost natural I was the one to try it.
Developed and published by Catze, today’s indie game seems to have all it takes to conquer our hearts and leave a mark of its passage. The launch trailer shows us fierce adversaries and tracks that are hard to master. Despite everything, however, one major doubt remains: are we sure this title really deserves our attention?
Ready! Set… Go!
With so many games to choose from, the average player needs little time to form an opinion on what’s before them. It is those first minutes that give us an idea of the title and what it has to offer. Fortunately, the guys from Catze seem to have done their homework before they set to work on Star Drift.
I had no trouble getting used to the mechanics that make up this game. Both the introduction and the first few levels gradually showed me useful things, inviting me to try them out so that I could check my own progress. At first, I was told how to move and control the cars. Then came the challenges and the unlockable content. Everything here is presented in an orderly manner, just so as to avoid the typical tutorial-induced confusion. This, for Star Drift, is definitely a plus!
Soon, it was about time to throw myself into a proper race. The goal of the game isn’t so much to come in first, but rather to stay on track without blowing your vehicle to smithereens. To make things even more difficult, the devs decided all cars should have no brakes.
As the title suggest, Star Drift is based on a peculiar concept. The action takes place on tracks with tight bends and on surfaces – including snow, mud and wet asphalt – that are not exactly suitable for driving. Players have to prove that they can control the car even as the tyres begin to slip .
In addition to the style of these races, what ends up conquering the player is definitely the world around them. Unlike other car-themed games, the tracks offered by Star Drift are all embedded in a fully explorable map. The developers have paid attention to every detail, giving us surprisingly beautiful scenarios!
So … nothing to object ?!
Despite far exceeding most of the indie games, I would hesitate to call Star Drift a perfectly successful project. We are still faced with a relatively weak indie title, which uses a system of challenges to dilute the experience and extend its own longevity.
Before you can access some parts of the map or unlock new cars, you will need to have collected enough stars. This currency, received according to one’s driving ability, is not that easy to earn. As a result, the game will force us to race the same track over and over; often leading to boredom and frustration!
Audio assets also seem to be lacking a punch. While the cars’ engines let out a satisfying rumble, the game music could certainly use an improvement. The few available songs – all electro tracks – are not unique enough to stick. Luckily, we have the option to kill the music and use any media player to replace them.
Finally, I found the lack of complete support for the Steam Controller utterly unforgivable. The device can still be used with Star Drift, but you’ll need to access the community and create your own configuration to make it work. From a game that boasts supporting the old xBox joypads, I would have sincerely expected more!
All in all, despite its flaws and failings, Star Drift left me rather satisfied. For an indie game, this title can still offer us a good experience and a few hours of fun.
A last slightly negative note, at least for some, could however be the selling price. At the moment, the title is available on Steam for around 12$. The sum is not outrageously inexplicable, but could feel a tad too much if we compare it to the amount of content that is on offer.
Before going back and trying to beat my high-score, I want to leave you with two tips. The first is to enjoy this adventure in small doses; the second is to wait for the next sales before you add the game to your library!