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KartRider: Drift

KartRider: Drift

This Mario Kart rip-off leaves us wanting more.

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I played KartRider: Rush quite a bit, a couple of years ago. I remember it being one of several free-to-play games with a "Mario Kart feel" that my then five-year-old son Frank and I spent some time with, but I would be outright lying to say that I remember it as particularly good. Charmingly playful for sure, with colourful graphics and a nice presentation, but the driving itself was nothing to write home about.

KartRider: DriftKartRider: Drift
The graphics in the PC version are not superb but are charming and colourful.

Despite this, I've been looking forward to the newly released KartRider: Drift where the focus is of course on sliding through entire tracks, behind the wheel of a cute little mini-go-kart. KartRider: Drift Is Just Like Crash: Nitrokart, Diddy Kong Racing, Sonic Racing, Cartoon Network Speedway, Dreamworks Super Star Kartz, Nicktoons Racing, Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing, Pac-Man World Rally, Chocobo Racing, Konami Crazy Racers, Modnation Racers, Little Big Planet Karting, and Warped Kart Racers - i.e. a shameless, low-concept Mario Kart copy. It's very, very fascinating how many Mario Kart rip-offs have been released over the past 30 years and the fact that they're still being developed and pushed out to all sorts of platforms is the ultimate proof of how well Nintendo has cared for its beloved racing series over the years.

KartRider: DriftKartRider: Drift
The game control and driving feel are really second to none.
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If, like me, you play on iPhone/Android, the tiny little go-kart drives itself as you steer and activate items that are picked up. The drifting mechanics are super simple and basically just involve you turning to start a slide that you can hardly pull out of. There is no traction here, at all. Nothing. None. In KartRider: Drift you skid more than you drive straight, and it might have been fun if the drifting contained finesse or some kind of challenge. This is more reminiscent of driving a car on an oily surface, and the difference in surface (between, for example, asphalt, ice, or gravel) is not noticeable at all. Non-existent. The game mechanics are evidently developed by a team that just couldn't be bothered and for its own part it became boring, monotonous and simple during the tutorial portion of this game.

Added to that is the lacklustre feel of speed and a track design that has been adapted for the slippery kart physics, which makes it feel like you're traveling more sideways than forward, which kind of defeats the whole point of racing, if you ask me.

KartRider: DriftKartRider: Drift
The sound is horrible with hopeless effects and really monotonous music.

The graphics then? It looks like KartRider: Rush, almost identical in parts. I think the presentation is nice and the ability to customise your kart with colours, decals and styling is definitely approved but I can't recommend this game for several reasons. The driving is abysmal, the sound is horrible (a short skidding sound is looped, for an eternity, which in the end just sounds like rubbing a piece of Styrofoam on a pane of glass) and the racing quickly becomes monotonous. It is free of course, and features crossplay support, but that doesn't save this disappointment.

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04 Gamereactor UK
4 / 10
Charming design. Good presentation besides horrid tutorial. Cute characters.
Awful driving mechanics. The skiddy slippery drifting is never ending. Limited variety. Lacks fun. Horrible sound.
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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