- Developer: THQ Nordic
- Publisher: HandyGames
- Release date: 29/7/2021
- Price: £12.49 / $14.99
- Review code provided by HandyGames
Introducing: SkyDrift Infinity Review
I do not own nearly as many racing games as I should as someone who tends to like the genre. Granted, I gravitate more towards cart racers than something like the more grounded Forza. Though that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the feeling of going fast around a track. However, I think part of the reason is that Mario Kart is a franchise that makes a lot of us Switch owners feel content with what we have. It has a ton of content, so we don’t always feel the need to seek out anything more. So, when I got a chance to review SkyDrift Infinty I took it. Knowing that I needed to see for myself if this can carve out its own identity.
There’s no story here, it’s pure gameplay, just flying planes real fast. Perfectly fine by me since the gameplay is what I was here for. Basically all you are going to be doing is racing planes, with a little dogfighting on the side. Obviously that means that the controls are really going to be the biggest thing we need to look at, and I am pleased to report that this game controls pretty dang well. You do all your steering with the left stick and accelerate with ZR, a fairly simple starting ground. What about really sharp turns then? I really loved this. Instead of having to hit a button in order to go into some kind of drift, you merely also tilt the right stick in the direction of your turn as well, creating a steep bank to get around those really tough corners. It feels very natural, much in the same way that some of us will sometimes move a controller or lean when playing a game, even though that doesn’t actually do anything.
On top of this, some races have weapon pickups that you can use to get rid of the competition. You’re able to bank 2 of them at a time, and picking up a second copy of a powerup that you already have will actually upgrade yours into a more powerful or useful version. Each of these is color and symbol coded on the tracks, so the game rewards you for paying attention and having good control because going for the specific one you want, like the rocket or shield, can sometimes be tricky to do. SkyDrift Infinity also notices when you take these risks. You have a boost that fills up from using the tools on the track, but it also rewards you for risky flying, such as flying low or through tight fits, with more boost that you can use to zoom past your competitors.
One thing I really appreciated is that when I crashed and exploded, the game got me back into flying very quickly and without crashing into the other planes. The one downside is that if you die in a tight section, you might not have quite enough time to make a turn when you spawn back in again. That being said, it only happened to me a small handful of times so I wasn’t too bothered by it. This combines with the great sense of weight that your plane has to leave the game just feeling good to play. I had a lot of fun trying to zoom through the courses as fast as possible.
There are four different types of flying that you can expect to find here. First is a Power Race, these are the ones that feel like a kart racer. You’re trying to win and there are powers scattered all over the track for you to use to your advantage. A Speed Race is just what it sounds like, but with a bit of a twist. The powers that you an use are completely gone as you focus entirely on speed, using rings that you can fly through for a boost in order to get ahead instead of weaponry. This one turned out to be one of my favorites since it required a lot of quick reaction time that felt amazing when I could pull it off. Survivor is an interesting mode. After about half a lap of the course, every thirty seconds, whoever is in last place will be exploded, last as long as you can. This one is really tricky as the second you fall behind it can be a big problem, but it doesn’t have much of a flavor if you’re able to keep yourself consistently at the front of the pack. Lastly, there is Deathmatch, which is also what it sounds like and fills the niche of our battle mode, though the extra degrees of being able to go up and down really let it stand out from a kart battle round.
This might sound like a lot, but one thing to keep in mind is that the courses are not as plenty as they seem. Many of them are used multiple times. There will be a Power and Speed and Survivor variation for just about all of them and on top of that, there are some times where one of the courses in the campaign can be a course that you already did, but now you are going through it in the opposite direction. While this does mean that visuals can get repetitive, I will say that the team did a great job at making all the modes make the tracks feel distinct. Playing one on a Power race feels very different to playing in the Speed variation, which kept them from feeling very stale.
Working your way through the campaign will grant you unlocks in terms of planes, skins, and trophies. The planes hold the most benefit of being a tangible change to the gameplay due to all of them handling differently or having different speeds, but I cannot deny there was a part of my brain that was very happy to get different skins for the planes and even get trophies when I managed to play well or do something in specific.
We’re Soarin’, Flyin’
Visually, this one is pretty simple, but you’re going to be zooming through areas so quickly that you’ll hardly notice if something is a little blurry. Even then, the environments are distinct and all look about the way I would expect them to look for a game at this budget level. The HUD is well organized and I never had any issue figuring out any of the information that I needed from it. The only visual issue that I had is the way that explosions of other planes that happen close to you can be large enough to sometimes blot out your entire screen for a second or two. As you can imagine, this can sometimes lead to crashing when you might not have otherwise. Not that big of a deal, but frustrating nonetheless.
Say to say, the audio isn’t all that interesting here. This resulted in me often playing while listening to something else, which I don’t think is a huge knock against the game. There’s some light voice work, but a lot of it boils down to a tutorial and the game telling you when you’ve entered first place. The music is where things are blandest. The music is simple, mostly just a motivational drum line that runs under the sound of the planes. It’s not going to bother you much if you have the audio on, but it’s not going to astound you either.
There’s Not a Star in Heaven That We Can’t Reach
I never ran into any technical problems while playing SkyDrift Infinity for this review. Everything looks great both in handheld and on my TV. I’ve got no complaints there.
One thing to keep in mind is that this game does have online multiplayer, but it is dreadfully empty. The leader boards are quite populated, but those don’t require people to be playing together to run. The online races and death matches are not super active unless you’re lucky. Most of the time you’re going to just be sitting around in an empty lobby. If you intend to play this online, it would help to have a few friends who also own the game to ensure that you’ll have someone to play with.
Yeah, We’re Breakin’ Free!
Overall, I had a pretty good time with SkyDrift Infinity. It’s a quality title, even if it’s not going to overtake any of the big boy racing games. There’s nothing wrong with carving out a niche of your own to play around in. It’s nice to have a plane racing game that’s not going for realism and is just trying to have a fun time doing its own thing! The price is pretty good for everything that you get too, so if this looks like it might be up your alley, I have a hard time not giving it a recommendation! That being said, if you’re someone who values playing online against other people rather than game controlled characters, you’re going to need to get a few friends to play it with you.
- Planes feel weighty and control smoothly
- Variety of gameplay modes to satisfy your needs
- Plenty of unlockables
- Great price point
- Music is lacking
- Occasional issues with obscured screen
- Quiet online playerbase