Hold on to your flying hats, it’s SkyDrift, the fastest, most explosive arcade jet combat racer EVER!
I don’t know about you, but I’m in need of a break from Skyrim about now. Endless hours of dragon slaying, mining and blacksmithing has me wanting action. Instant, hot, sweaty, adrenaline fuelled action!
Luckily, Hungarian developer Digital Reality has just delivered exactly what I crave in the form of SkyDrift, an arcade flight game that mixes deadly hi-tech jet dogfighting with MACH 10 white knuckle racing.
There’s a lot to like about SkyDrift. From the moment it starts up there’s one pleasant surprise after another. The opening cinematic features a beautifully rendered jet that swoops up to the screen, proudly displaying it’s Digital Reality logo and setting an immediately impressive standard. The theme music is rousing and military; it tells me there is danger ahead.
Then it’s onwards to the start screen, and I’m overjoyed to write that even this is a pleasure to behold. This is mostly down to the wonderfully dreamy synth chords looping hypnotically. Snap out of it and the main menu awaits. Here there are options like single player, multiplayer, leaderboards and everything else you would expect. Again, Digital Reality show an impressive attention to quality and detail, with superb graphics and functionality.
The game begins with a tutorial, which is great, as I found the controls a little daunting to begin with. I chose to use the 360 controller, and it was recognised immediately, providing specific button instructions. Once the basics are explained it’s straight into the action. This is where the single player campaign begins, and a series of increasingly challenging events unfold if you manage to place 3rd or higher against the effective yet balanced AI. The events themselves are pure, unadulterated fun. The graphics are stunning and the soundtrack is brilliant. It’s worth noting that I can play with the highest settings without any problems at all. If you take a look at my very average rig at the bottom of the page, you’ll see why this is so fantastic. I want to make special mention of the sound design in SkyDrift, it is phenomenally crafted and brings as much as the photo-realistic graphics.
This game has the soul of arcade in it. I think that’s what makes it so damn good. Sitting at my desk, 360 controller in hand, I felt whisked away to the old video game arcades of my younger years. I could have been in one of those snazzy cabinets with a bucket seat and joystick. I played for 2 hours and it felt like 20 minutes. This game is seriously more-ish.
There is a learning curve, of course, but it doesn’t take long to get a hang of the handling, and I was unlocking new events and aircraft almost immediately. Talking of handling, the game mechanics are great too. Controlling the craft feels intuitive and accurate – they do what you want them to. Speeding through the sky at unimaginable speeds, whilst blowing up rivals with various ingenuous weapons has never felt so natural. Winning isn’t just a matter of flying super fast and not crashing though. Oh no. Tactics are vital to survive.
Power-ups are scattered around the courses, and these provide offensive and defensive abilities. Two abilities can be carried at a time and power-ups can also be converted into speed boosts! Speed boosts are also earned from performing hair-raising stunts and blowing fellow racers to kingdom come.
Replayability should be assured, as along with the single player campaign, many unlockable craft and skins, there is online multiplayer for up to 8 players. In both single player and multiplayer there are three game modes – Power Race, Speed Race Mode and Survival Mode. Add to all this the extensive single player and online leaderboards, Steam acheivements and in-game awards and you’ve got a heck of a lot of bang for your buck, as I believe they say in Canada.
If by any chance, you happen to be blessed with Jedi like supernatural skills and complete all of the above immediately, you’ll be ecstatic to know that there are two DLC packs being released on 28th November via Steam.
These will be: The Extreme Fighters Pack; containing three deadly aircraft – Vanguard, Sparrow X1 and Triwing Vintage, and The Gladiator Multiplayer Pack; containing two new multiplayer modes: Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, as well as six new arenas.
Purchase SkyDrift on Steam before November 28th at 10AM Pacific Time and receive the Gladiator Multiplayer Pack for Free!
Released: November 21st on STEAM
Developed and published by Digital Reality
AMD 4200+ X2 2233 MHz CPU
ATI HD4670 512mb GPU
Windows XP SP3