GEAR VR REVIEW: Drift

Score: A-

Release Date: 12/10/2015

Cost: $9.99

Controller support? Yes, and it’s recommended, but not required

Demo Available? No

Who made it? Sharpsense

Genre: Action Shooter

Content: 15 environments, with 6 hidden levels and endless modes.

Awesome Innovation: Playing a video game as a bullet. A bullet that can use Max Payne-style bullet-time to slow down the action. A bullet that can move 360 degrees.

For core gamers who love: Totally new experiences.

drift 2

Final Thoughts: I’m a big fan of console gaming, but a big challenge for me lately is that everything has started to feel like a variation on Call of Duty, Gears of War, Grand Theft Auto, or Gran Turismo. Sure, there are little twists here and there – sometimes open worlds are combined with first-person viewpoints, for instance. But AAA games are now so expensive to make that you don’t tend to see developers veering from these well-worn templates. Enter the Gear VR as a solution to the more-of-the-same doldrums. The platform certainly excels at making established genres feel new, but it’s at its best when it is introducing game experiences that can only be done in 360 degrees. Drift is just such a game. Its wildly ambitious approach provides an entertaining, skill-based ride that simply cannot be compared to any other game. You take control of a bullet in first-person, making your way through complex 3D mazes to hit a specific target. The art style is beautiful and abstract. The scenarios are highly varied. At one point, you’re inside a pinball machine. Later on, you’re in the middle of a super hero battle in a city.

One important thing to note: this game is hard. You will fail… a lot. Your saving grace is bullet-time, which lets you think for a moment, but its use is limited (unless, interestingly, it’s Saturday, in which case bullet time is totally unlimited. A nice feature when you’re stuck, and a great, pro-consumer way to encourage player retention).  Also, you cannot play this one at all if you are in a stationary chair. You have to either stand or be in a swivel chair.

drift 3

At times, the difficultly spikes seem unreasonable. I couldn’t get past the fourth level without consulting the internet – a common choke point for players. And looking at player reviews, it seems that the response to this one is divisive. I loved the game for its ambition and novelty. Others seem to hate it. But if you’re craving something totally new, it’s definitely worth checking out.

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