Not many male gamers, let alone ‘mature’ ones, would admit they aren’t very good at something, but Drift Type C Early Access has conducted some studies and deemed me a crap drifter. Don’t be fooled that an indie game can’t pack the same punch as a triple-A – the physics on this thing are ace.
And Jonworks Interactive knows it. In the training sessions (essential), they bring to our attention how we’ve all been molly-cuddled with rocket-like drifting – where momentum will take you around a corner like butter sliding off a lubed-up PVC suit. Saying for a friend.
The Need for Speed franchise (which I do enjoy) was probably the biggest offender. That arcade approach of letting go of the gas, applying a little as you go around, and then slamming the nitro to hoon over the finish line was common. No, no, no. That just isn’t cricket, and Drift Type C will bitch slap that out of you.
Games like Absolute Drift and Drift21, while taking a different approach on the mechanics, both nailed it, if you catch my drift. Boom! Said it. Similarly, in Drift Type C, you must adequately master corners and learn when and when not to apply the accelerator and the best time to pull on the handbrake. In short, you’ll spend a good amount of time on the tutorials or glide elegantly around naturally. If it’s the latter, I hate you. For illustrative purposes only.
To tell the truth, I couldn’t deal with Drift Type C at first. That’s not because I didn’t like it, but because it didn’t feel as natural as all those other titles; spending time on techniques was a little monotonous yet essential to progress. Additionally, having to drive sensibly, as in real life, is not necessarily why I want to play driving games. Still…
Besides driving school, there are several bulky features such as a story mode, events, and creative. Jumping straight to events is a good recommendation as you’ll often race against ghost cars, so seeing how to take a corner, i.e. getting to grips with which way your vehicle should be pointing, is a big help. In fact, playing the events was my first experience of not coming off the track for once.
The story mode in Drift Type C Early Access doesn’t shift to a visual novel structure and introduce some archetypes. Instead, you must complete a series of courses in a set time, ensuring you don’t total your car before (if) you reach the finish line. It’s like Art of Rally, one of my favourite driving experiences and one of the best on the Switch.
Like the aforementioned, you can adjust the difficulty level to your preference, altering some additional options such as driving assistance and whether you want to drive manual or automatic. The latter options certainly make a difference, though they can feel somewhat restrictive for those who like to freeball. With respect to the overall difficulty settings, they give you a bit more time/up the challenge based on your abilities.
The Drift Type C press material stated that there are licensed cars here. While you won’t be seeing Skyline R34 in the specifications, it’s obvious that’s what the car may be. Seriously, who wants to drift in a Ferrari (was it the F40 that features?). Aside from the classics, there are some novelty vehicles too, which are fun; however, there’s a bit of an oversight with the bus and other larger vehicles: they can’t get past the starting line on some of the tracks as they can’t go under the signage!
While the cars and tracks look nice in the game, the UI in Drift Type C is an absolute bastard. Preference, yes, but I thought it was ugly and janky. Halfway through a track, I realise that there’s no way I can finish and decide to jump back to the menu. Alas, ‘Main Menu’ takes you to a few options: reset (start the track again), options (can’t be saved mid-race) and exit. Click on the latter, and you’re back in Steam, not at the main menu. Still, this is Early Access, so all is forgiven. For now…
Quite honestly, you must check out Drift Type C Early Access if you’re a fan of driving games but perhaps want to up the experience oh-so-slightly through better physics and a focus on the driving rather than cutscenes, sponsorships and bling. For an Early Access from a solo dev? It gets a thumbs up from me. Now, begone, do your research, but make sure you wishlist it in the meantime.