“If you ain’t outta control, you ain’t in control.” Bow Wow’s words were just as true in Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift as they are now with Drift Mania: Street Outlaws, a new drifting-oriented racer from Ratrod Studio, Inc. Did this fast and furious game drift its way into our hearts, or should it just drift on by?
Drift Mania offers three relatively similar modes for players to enjoy. Campaign demands that players complete each race with speed and style in order to score medals and money. Battle and Multiplayer both pit players against AI opponents or other human opponents, respectively, in a race to the finish. The actual gameplay itself utilizes both the gyroscopic action of your iOS device and the touch screen. To the right is the speedometer, which allows you to decide how quickly you’ll move based on which point you touch it on. To the left is the brake, which you’ll use for stylish drifts. You’ll steer by tilting the device left and right like a real steering wheel; this is a fun idea, in theory, but in execution it’s just going to make you extremely, exceedingly dizzy. Drifting often requires lots of rapid oscillation, and having to control that movement by shifting your perspective around leads to headaches, eye strain, and general feelings of urpiness.
Drift Mania’s aesthetics are spot-on for its genre. The cars and backgrounds are all well-rendered, with nice little touches like spots of rust on the junkers you’ll drive early on and sparkling reflections on the high-end cars. The music makes use of tunes from various real-life bands and recording artists, most of whom are relatively unknown. The tunes don’t really stand out as amazing, but they do their job nicely and will probably make gamers recall the warm and fuzzy feelings of playing Crazy Taxi and the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series.
The shop tows the line between feeling exploitative and feeling fair. Drift Mania costs a buck, but Ratrod Studios has still oh-so graciously included the option of spending more real-life money in order to obtain more in-game money. You’ll earn virtual cash at a decent enough rate, but knowing that the game-makers want you to spend more real money keeps an itchy feeling at the back of players’ minds; you’ll constantly wonder whether the money you’re earning is an appropriate amount, or if Ratrod Studios is underpaying your efforts to push you to pay.
In-game purchases aside, Drift Mania: Street Outlaws is a solid racing title with one big problem: the gyroscopic controls will probably make you dizzy. Still, if you’re good at resisting vertigo and the like, and you want a drifting-oriented racer with tons of car upgrade and cosmetic options, you could do much worse than this.
App Store Link: Drift Mania: Street Outlaws for iPad | By Ratrod Studio, Inc | Price: $0.99 | Version: 1.0.1 | 554 MB | Rating 4+