I appreciate it when fun and playability are prioritized above realism and grit since I prefer kart-style games more than most people do, and I consider myself to be a self-styled racer who essentially never wins. Here’s Bears Can’t Drift, a one-man team that first created a game for the Ouya before porting it to the PC and PlayStation 4. This game is fantastic for a first attempt and shows a lot of love, but it also has some very basic problems that detract from the overall experience.
The game shines best when you play with others since it was created to recreate the 4 player split-screen joy that the indie community has cultivated (thank you!). Although the lack of internet multiplayer is acceptable, the single-player possibilities are also fairly limited. I respect that there is no rubber banding in the AI, so you are doomed if you make a mistake on hard mode. That is where your single-player run time will come from. The themed courses are lengthy and intricate, with many of shortcuts to attempt to gain an advantage. Despite the title – Bears truly can drift however it’s really pretty tough and clumsy to accomplish at times when the courses are so tight and twisty. Although finding the right balance might be challenging, drifting often doesn’t result in a speed advantage. As a consequence, I’ve participated in several multiplayer games where nobody wandered and no one suffered as a result.
While the images sometimes have a nice low-poly charm, they are often polished into a delightfully attractive drift hunters world that children will adore exploring. It is remarkable how quickly and smoothly it operates. The karts themselves oversteer rather readily in terms of handling, so you really need to feather the analog sticks around some of the longer turns to make sure you have the appropriate angle. The problems, though, are more with what is missing from the game than with what is included.
Three modes are available. Your main source of income is races, which include the typical power-ups. The picnic mode, which is surprisingly enjoyable, involves gathering fruit and snatching it from your opponents. However, the time trial is pointless since the clock is partially off the screen and you are unable to enlarge it. Also absent are wrong-way signs, which means you’ll often be pointing in the incorrect direction since certain tracks resemble mazes (the ice ones). Additionally absent are any control layouts, suitable settings, and any ambiguous in-game information or tutorials. You start the game and are immediately thrust into vast globe centers.
However, you are left guessing at icons and wondering whether you missed a control button since you are unaware that going along a certain road alters the difficulty. In a similar vein, the hub worlds are attractive, but they don’t provide much for the game in terms of gameplay features. Finally, no matter what kind of terrain you are driving on, the grip remains constant. The purpose of all the aesthetics in the first place is undermined by the fact that you can drive underwater and go at the same pace.
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