Inertial Drift revolves around learning/mastering it’s drifting mechanic. It involves using both analogue sticks and when done correctly feels satisfying and addictive! Its heavy reliance on the player learning the drifting mechanic and having to study each track to learn where all the turns are before anyone can start to have fun are just some of the features which drive this game downhill.
The decision to not include maps of each track whilst racing is a very cheap way to provide replayability. Coupled with all the different “modes” on the start menu being very similar shows there was definitely a struggle creating varied ways to play this game.
The story mode is the best way to get a feel of what this game truly has to offer and the characters on show are very diverse. Something to be commended on especially during these times. The early 90s/ late 80s retro vaporwave-ish art style and killer synth-like techno soundtrack is a beautiful aesthetic that suits what this game is perfectly.
Where is everyone?
It’s just a shame during the game you’ll be alone on the track, racing against a ghost or against a CPU that you can completely phase through which arguably is the same thing. For a game which is mostly about drifting it makes sense to not have anyone to bump into but even when there are two ghosts on the track, the game struggles to cope significantly dropping in frame rate suddenly and in some cases made the game completely unplayable.
The different characters in this game which you can choose from also dictate which car you use. This is a nice way to add personality to not just the game, but whichever car you happen to choose too. Each car has vastly different handling and finding out which car suits your playstyle accompanying the drifting mechanic was a gruelling but very fun journey. During the course of the story, character dialogue stays very bland and friendly towards your character. Too friendly. Have you ever tried reading a text while driving? Well, you shouldn’t! And Inertial Drift’s tutorial and story related text constantly popping up in the top left corner whilst driving is exactly like trying to do that, but also whilst driving sideways around a corner that you didn’t see coming because there’s no map.
Inertial Drift follows in the footsteps of Joy-con drift, meaning it has its issues. The game has great visuals, music and the drifting mechanic is a game-changer but it’s barebones gameplay apart from that makes this a game you’ll get bored of just as quickly as you learn to love. With some more refining, the ability to play against more racers and better and more varied game modes, this game could really be improved. I really wanted to like this game but for now, I’ll be keeping my eye out for an Inertial Drift 2.
[Reviewed on Nintendo Switch]