First videogame review of 2012!
A Paladin’s Review: Skydrift. A Solid and Enjoyable Arcade Racer.
- Genre: Arcade Racer
- Developed and Published by: Digital Reality & Kalypso Media Digital.
- Platform: Windows, Xbox 360 and PS3.
- Business Model: Base Game + Minor DLC
- Copy Gifted By A Friend
Overall Gameplay Thoughts
SkyDrift is a great looking, fast action, arcade racing game. It’s chaotic, intense and skillful. Single player offers plenty of content and planes to choose from. It offers beautiful vistas of places to fly through and the world feels very organic and alive. It reminds me of Mario Kart mixed with Diddy Kong Racing. The three different modes of play, Power, Speed and Survival, keep it interesting if you want to change it up. Power is where you have the ability to use powerups. Speed takes powerups out and survival is about making it the longest. There’s a good amount of powerups, all sorts of different planes to choose from and a decent amount of racing tracks to chew on. The various different types of planes vary from flighty and twitchy, to heavy and slow but still remain balanced enough for engaging races everytime. The AI gets lots of help with rubberbanding and teleporting but it’s still possible to beat it. It’s just really aggravating. The game is definitely best played against others though. There’s a good amount of variety for such a small budgeted game.
The vibrant graphics also make it a feast for the eyes as you fly around in the well crafted planes. From the cold icy tundras, to the Mediterranean waterfalls to the deserts, the game has some really gorgeous places you fly around in.
Initially at launch, SkyDrift’s multiplayer was broken. It was plagued with lobby issues, lots of lag and desync problems. Fortunately, it seems that multiplayer has been fixed. Not sure when and for how long, but it works again. That being said, it could easily break itself, so, that’s something to keep in mind. Getting a lobby with friends going is pretty easy as it ties itself in with Steam. I should note that the game has a ridiculously long wait of 60 seconds to start up a game. Not really sure why and it gets reset everytime someone decides they want to fly something else. So you could be waiting at the lobby for a while.
Skydrift is one of my favorite racers I’ve had the pleasure of playing in the past couple of years. The devs shot themselves in the foot by not having multiplayer be up to snuff but that somehow fixed itself. If you need a new arcade racer, SkyDrift is the one to pick up.
Thanks for reading!
Below is the original review of Skydrift. Feel free to read it!
I honestly never thought I would review a racing game on my blog…ever. Why? Well, here’s a quick history. I haven’t been in the racing-genre since my days playing a N64. Yes, it’s been that long. Back then I played Diddy Kong Racing, Mario Kart 64, Wipeout 64, Extreme G, Vigilante 8 (ok, not quite a racing game, but it was still fun), and others that I can’t remember off the top of my head. Suffice it to say, the racing genre was popular back then. Once we upgraded to the Gamecube, it was as if the racing genre literally drove itself off a cliff and disappeared. I remember back then going through Gamestop, Gamecrazy and other videogame sellers looking for racing-genre games. With the exception of Mario Kart’s sequel for the Gamecube, there was pretty much nothing in the racing genre from what I could see. Maybe someone can correct me, but it was as if the developers just didn’t want to develop the racing genre after the N64 for Gamecube. I have no idea why.
Anyway, after I “retired” from the Gamecube and eventually became a full-time PC gamer, I had pretty much given up on the racing genre. Even when I joined Steam I just hadn’t seen any games of interest in the racing-genre beyond realistic driving simulations/races which has never appealed to me. Then I watched TotalBiscuit’s “WTF is: SkyDrift” before I left for my Christmas vacation. The game caught my attention as I always liked airplane racing and seeing upgrades in an almost Mario Kart style looked to give the chaotic racing style that I used to enjoy. I tried the demo and it was later gifted to me via my friend Tobias as a Christmas gift. (Thanks!)
So what can I say about Skydrift, well, it’s just great fun. The planes are nicely crafted with each having its own unique way of flying. This makes it really challenging to master each plane and I really enjoy that. I also really enjoy how challenging the game is, without being stupidly hard, even when playing against the AI. The arcade & chaotic type of racing makes this thoroughly enjoying. It also has a nice fast pace and I like that you can go fast enough to break the sound barrier. It just has really nice touches to make the experience great.
The vibrant graphics also make it a feast for the eyes as you fly around in the very pretty planes. From the cold icy tundras, to the mediterranean waterfalls to the deserts, the game has some really gorgeous places you fly around in. The various different types of planes vary from flightly and twitchy, to heavy and slow and that makes it a unique experience every time you fly with a different plane. The three different modes of play, Power, Speed and Survival keep it interesting if you want to change it up. Overall, it is just a fun game and as far as gaming has started out this year, its been a real pleasure to play it.
However, SkyDrift has some weaknesses. Mostly in the multiplayer area. First off, its multiplayer is very bare-boned functionality. With no ability to chat, invite directly into matches, block people or even connect to the match with your friends, the match-making system could use some help. Another annoying issue are de-syncs that happen in the games. I can’t tell if it’s just really bad ping or poor network code, but it makes it annoying to finally setup a game only to have it desync mid way through, making the whole match pointless because the game can no longer tell who is in first or last place. And to top it off, the amount of people playing in Multiplayer is on the low side, probably due to the previously mentioned problems.
And that really saddens me because this will kill its longevity for playing. What keeps racing games fun is playing with friends but with all the above mentioned problems, it makes it impossible to setup games and actually get some enjoyable action in.
**Second Update** I recently replayed Skydrift and multiplayer seems to function without a lot of lag or lobby issues. I am just as surprised as the next person on that.
Another weakness is the selection of maps. While the game has some incredibly beautiful maps in the game, there is only a small amount of them. You can play the maps in reverse, but it still would have been nice to see a wider variety of maps to choose from. Considering how many planes we can choose, it would have been nice to see almost as many maps to fly them through.
What I do like about the maps is how alive they feel. While you’re flying through them, you’ll have mountainsides explode, boat horns going off and other nice little touches that make it feel like you’re flying through a living world.
DLC wise, I am less than impressed with the Devs decision to release Death Match and team Deathmatch multiplayer modes via paid DLC, given the almost broken multiplayer experience that the original game has. It makes those DLCs a really unattractive buy considering that the community is pretty small and premium content like that will make it harder to setup games with other people. The other DLC pack is worth it for the three new planes as those bring some really unique flying action.
Overall, this game is definitely worth picking up just for the single player content. It has beautiful and interactive maps/vistas, plenty of content to play through and challenge yourself with and many planes to have fun with. While the multiplayer was broken on release, it seems to have fixed itself. To the surprise of everyone. So I can definitely recommend getting this game, it is available on Steam, Xbox and PS3.