I can’t pretend to be an especially talented gamer. I mean, I’ve finished all the Space Quest games, and I can kind of hold my own in Rock Band, and I’ve got a fairly decent Halo service record if being killed a lot in SWAT matches also counts, but generally, I’d rate myself at just about average.
Except at Skydrift. I suck at Skydrift. I suck at Skydrift so badly, I take sucking into a whole new category of sucking, which I’m now calling “ultrasupermegasucking”. So this review is written from the perspective of multiple on-screen explosions.
Basically, Skydrift is Mario Kart with jets. Or Blur with jets, if you’re 14 and too cool for Nintendo consoles. Or an arcade racer with power-ups AND JETS, if you’ve only just arrived from outer space and/or you weren’t paying attention.
Power-ups include a sort of turret gun, rockets, shields, a repair kit, a close-range shockwave detonator, and deployable mines. So far, so DeathTrack. You can also hold two power-ups simultaneously, and doubling up on the same one increases its effectiveness. Obviously, the big idea is to stockpile ordnances, and dump them on your opponents to knock them out of the race temporarily, and put you in front.
The game’s campaign mode features three different game types – Power Race, Survival, and Speed Race. The first one’s your standard GO-GO-GO mode, with loads of power-ups on the courses, while Speed Race is more or less the same thing, but with an elimination timer. If you’re in last place when it ticks down to zero, you’re out of the race, and the last man (jet) standing (flying) wins. Speed Race chucks all the power-ups, and has players zipping through a series of velocity-boosting rings instead.
Although none of this stuff is particularly innovative in the genre, and it all works well enough and – quite in spite of my ultrasupermegasucking at it – the game’s rather a lot of chaotic fun to play. For a bit, anyway.
Skydrift’s first big problem is that it has only six maps (and reversed versions, but that’s cheating), which quickly become very repetitive.
Skydrift’s second big problem is that it has no local multiplayer, an omission that’s all the more inexplicable given the genre’s instant appeal on this front. Online multiplayer is something, perhaps, but it’s just not the same when you can’t throw chips at the asshole who dropped a rocket on you.
It’s a solid, smart little racer, but with a pretty chunky $14.99 / 1,200 MSP pricetag, its lack of content and local multiplayer makes it more of a maybe than a must-buy.