I admit that I barely heard of Digital Reality’s SkyDrift, an aerial racing game available on Xbox Live and PSN, just a couple of weeks before it launched. However, what I’d seen impressed me. For a downloadable game, SkyDrift looked like a truly polished title. I had high hopes for this aerial racing game, and luckily most of them came true.
SkyDrift features three modes in its single player campaign. Power Race is a fairly standard race with varied power-ups. You have staples like machine guns, shields, and homing missiles. The catch is you can only carry two power-ups at a time, and if you fly over the same type twice it’ll get upgraded to a more powerful version.
Plus, at anytime you can sacrifice one of your power-ups to partially fill up your boost meter. If you’re in first place and you don’t need that repair power, you can sacrifice it to generate some boost to extend your lead. Overall, there’s nothing terribly surprising with the power-ups. You’ve seen them before in Mario Kart, Blur and numerous other games, but they work well here.
Survival races are a little bit different. You need to stay ahead of the pack while a timer counts down. When the timer hits zero, the plane in last place is kicked out of the race. The last man standing wins–which obviously is what you’re aiming for.
Speed Race gets rid of all the power-ups and instead litters the tracks with speed rings. Fly through one of them and true to their namesake, you get a huge boost of speed. These races were fun because trying to hit every ring in a lap can be a bit of a challenge and controlling your plane can get a little tricky at super high speeds.
The game controls nicely, with the right control stick being used to roll your plane to tighten its turn radius. I know I’m not a pilot in real life, but SkyDrift made me feel more like one. Again, none of these race types are the freshest things around, but they’re all well done and fun. Power Race really reminded me of Blur, which for me wasn’t a bad thing.
There are multiple planes you can unlock by winning races and progressing further in the campaign. A couple of them can only be unlocked by playing the multiplayer component. They all have varied top speeds, acceleration ratings, armor, etc.
The multiplayer portion has the same race types as the single player portion, and everything seemed to work just fine. I just don’t know how big the community is going to be down the line, especially because this is a downloadable title.
SkyDrift looks great for a $15 game. The colors are all vibrant, and it’s pretty impressive to see your shiny bright blue and yellow plane flying through a volcano and glowing lava. Sadly there were a couple of instances where if the camera was in the right spot, I could see through the environments.
While the game types are all fun, SkyDrift is pretty short. One could tell Digital Reality tried to squeeze some extra mileage out of their game by including reversed versions of some tracks, but it still felt like not enough. Hopefully Digital Reality will continue to support the game by releasing extra tracks as DLC.
It’s been too long since I’ve played an aerial racing game. I think the last time were the plane levels in Diddy Kong Racing. The game won’t wow anyone, but if you like arcade style racing games along the lines of Blur with planes–I mean, come on they’re planes!–you’ll enjoy SkyDrift. It’s only a lack of more content that holds it back from being even better.