Inertial Drift PS4 Review

October 5, 2020 by  
Filed under PS4, Reviews & Features, PlayStation

Publisher: PQube  Developer: Level 91 Entertainment  Genre: Racing

Players: 1-2  Age Rating: 3+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One, Switch

Other than having to get used to its unusual control scheme, Inertial Drift is a game that starts off really quite simple, but it also quickly becomes evident that there’s more depth to it than meets the eye. 

I recommend the game’s story mode as the first port of call, and this isn’t because it has a fantastically engaging narrative, because it doesn’t, but I recommend it simply because the mode does its best to teach you how to play the game, handily it even does so following failure. The story focuses on four selectable characters, each driving a vehicle that is very distinctive from the last. 

Once you get used to the twin stick control scheme, which has you steering with one stick and drifting with the other to control the angle of the drift, Edward’s Terra Dart should prove to be a very smooth ride for a lot of players. Then you realise that the other three vehicles control completely differently, bringing about total surprise and having to alter your mindset to meet the demands of the other motors. 

The game has split screen multiplayer for two players, as well as online multiplayer. Finding someone to play against online is rather tricky though at the time of writing.

Some of these vehicles handle like buses, although knowing how to handle them is key to getting around corners without crashing into walls. Ibba’s HPE Dragon car is more about applying the brakes before tackling the corner with a stylish drift, while Riku’s Ventus doesn’t seem to want to drift, but braking does encourage it. Finally, we have Corey’s HPE Katana, which requires plenty of adjustments with the stick when drifting to assure a smooth corner. 

Inertial Drift doesn’t only have four vehicles to its name though. You’ll unlock the ability to jump into rival cars in the game’s challenge mode, and once you manage to clear a challenge, you’ll then unlock the vehicle for use in other modes. With 16 cars in all in the game, there’s definitely plenty for you to get your teeth into. Be warned though, you might love the rather effortless nature of the game at first, but then feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall when trying to drive a later car, so it’s definitely a game that requires a lot of perseverance. 

Inertial Drift has five racing locations across 10 tracks (with the option for reversed tracks), and each of these are distinct. Some of the tracks are really quite simple in their layout, while others are a lot more technical with corners galore, requiring you to fully understand your vehicle and how to take full advantage of the drift mechanic.  

There’s a variation of events in the game. Races are one-on-one affairs, duels have you aiming to stay ahead for as long as possible as being in first scores you points, while there’s also style events, which are all about the drifting. You also get Time Attack and Ghost Battle, which will be familiar to anyone who has ever played a racing game before. Finally, there’s an Endurance event, which is basically arcade-style checkpoint racing in which you are tasked with getting as far as possible. All of these events can be played in a number of modes, with the most challenging mode being the Grand Prix mode, which gives you only three attempts to clear each set of events. 

The game doesn’t allow for any crashes, with all opponents appearing like ghosts that can be passed through without any incident.

Inertial Drift has very striking visuals, which seems to take their inspiration from anime. The cartoon-styling is very pleasing on the eye, and its use of purples and oranges across its tracks are beautiful. All in all, it’s a lovely and slick looking game that brings to mind the likes of Capcom’s Auto Modellista, while its screaming brakes and lively soundtrack brings to mind Namco’s classic Ridge Racer series. 

Inertial Drift is a racing game with plenty of heart, although its welcoming visuals and simple to control early vehicles are rather deceiving. While not a racing simulator, this is a game that soon shows lots of depth in its variation of cars and tracks, and if the game does grab you then there’s definitely plenty to keep your attention and to get to grips with over time.