Drive!Drive!Drive! is an unique driving game that has players racing on multiple tracks at the same time. While this might sound impossible to manage at first, it is executed surprisingly well here and easy to adapt to after the first few races. Even though Drive!Drive!Drive! has a few problems with its collision detection and track creator, this game is one of the most interesting and original arcade racing games I have played in a long time.
At first glance, Drive!Drive!Drive! plays like a typical arcade-y racer. There is a focus on drifting, boosting, and loose car physics that fans of arcade racers will be very familiar with. The game separates itself from other specific games with two specific things: its horrendously dumb AI and having to race on multiple tracks at the same time.
Typically bad AI is seen as a bad thing, but it actually works in Drive!Drive!Drive!‘s favor as opponents will constantly be crashing into you, messing up your driving. In combination with the track changing mechanics this can actually work against the player in a good way, as player cars currently not being controlled can mess up, and make players lose their lead on a certain track. it helps the game stand out from any other arcade racer on the market.
Unfortunately Drive!Drive!Drive!’s collision detection can sometimes be a bit off. There were times when I was racing on developer-made tracks and randomly hit an invisible wall. I also would occasionally get bumped by other cars into awkward positions that prevented me from continuing the race. The game allows you to reset at the press of a button, but these minor annoyances make some races feel like a waste of time.
In Campaign mode, players are let loose on a variety of races with different objectives. The first type of level is Arcade, where players must get as many points as possible through doing things such as placing well in a race, smashing into your dumb AI opponents, drifting, and jumping. Next up is Time Trial, where players must try to complete a race with multiple cars without having the sum of the car’s times exceed a limit. This mode can be very challenging at times, as regular racing game players aren’t used to accounting for their other cars race time, but it is still a lot of fun.
Then there is Collection, where players must drive through a certain number of crystals on the track in order to succeed. The last mode available for Drive!Drive!Drive! is Purist, where players must keep their combined total of place numbers below or above a certain number. This can be very unique and entertaining when the player is asked to keep the number high, so they must do worse in the race in order to succeed. It definitely one of the quirkier experiences that I have had in a racing game this year.
During the campaign, players can choose from a variety of distinct-looking cars to race in. These cars do have different stats, although they do feel similar, only getting faster as they are unlocked. It would have been nice to have some incentive to use the older cars as newer ones are unlocked, as I never used many of the game’s first cars after I unlocked some of the better ones down the line.
Drive!Drive!Drive! also features an extensive track creation tool that works well… for the most part. When you first create a track, you must choose a theme, each of which are based off of the Campaign mode’s worlds. This helps incentive gamers to play that mode so they can unlock new features. After unlocking the themes, players are let loose and can design the track.
Track building takes place on a grid where players can place a variety of track pieces. There is a plentiful amount of track piece options, all of which appear in game, which makes any player created track fit right in with those already in the game. Designing the track is also easy to control with the DualShock 4 controller, so console players won’t be shafted when it comes to designing their own track.
Once players have completely designed their own track, they can then duplicate it. Unfortunately this can be difficult to do, as it is hard to move tracks apart from each other properly, and it is also hard to tell how far is enough. This makes it frustrating when you must go back and modify this stage later after testing your track because it was hard to tell that it did not work.
After duplicating the track player can choose the specific objects that are floating around and populating the stage. “Choose” is a strong word for this though, and players can only press one button that randomly creates the track background, and can’t customize individual parts. Giving players more control over this would have made each individual track more unique, and made these tracks even more customizable.
Next, players must test their tracks and beat them before publishing to make sure they aren’t broken — similar to Super Mario Maker. This can be pretty fun, and it is easy to go back and correct your mistakes — even if a few of the mistakes could have been avoided if it was easier to move the track duplicates. Finally, players name and publish the track. There is a large number of distinct Community tracks already available that differ from anything available in the campaign. Drive!Drive!Drive! contains one of the most detailed track creators that I have ever seen in a game and, although it is not perfect, creative players will definitely be able to get a lot out of this mode.
Drive!Drive!Drive!’s multiplayer mode is also very customizable, allowing players to choose from the tracks already in the game, or any published by the game’s community, providing a near endless amount of tracks for player to compete on. They play out similar to regular races, but the other cars are now controlled by other players and their non-controlled cars’ AI. It is very fun and unique, and is a very different online experience than what I have had in any game this year.
Regardless, I am a bit worried for this game’s online community, as the servers were empty the evening of launch day, which is never a good sign. Drive!Drive!Drive! has very interesting multiplayer, so it would be a shame to see it underutilized by the player-base. Hopefully the game’s community keeps creating tracks, and keeps the online community running in some sense.
While the game’s graphics aren’t very detailed, they are colorful enough to be visually interesting to look at. The game’s initial camera setting is way to close to the cars, making the game less visually interesting; it can easily be adjusted into a wider view that really showcases the game’s distinct graphics. There is also a nice effect of the course dissipating any time a track is completing that never gets old. All of the game’s music was composed by Zombi. While none of the tracks really stood out to me, they were still composed well and were enjoyable to listen to.
Drive!Drive!Drive! is a very fun arcade racer. If you are a fan of this genre, I recommend that you pick this up. While the physics and collision problems and dying online community can dampen the experience, Drive!Drive!Drive! is like no game I have played before, and probably won’t be like any game I play after. For such a tired genre, it was awesome that developer Different Cloth could breathe new life into it with solid innovation.