Kickstarter Shout-out: Drift Stage

 photo drift1_1.jpg It’s 2015, and that means a brand new batch of Kickstarters to talk about. Sadly, through November and December, it was a wasteland of Kickstarters that were not interesting or all that well put-together. Luckily, it is January 2015, and fresh new batches of Kickstarters have caught my attention. I could have talked about the new Shadowrun: Hong Kong Kickstarter, but you can forget about that! It made its Kickstarter funding in just a few hours of its launch, and honestly, I need to play the first game so I am not fully familiar with the product. There is also this cool action RPG called Maestros of the Anthymn. It’s a very unique game that has a creative battle system. I will probably write something about this Kickstarter in the future. I was in the mood for a simple, but entertaining racer that captured the essence of Daytona U.S.A, 90s Arcade Racer, and the Outrun franchise. Well, even though these guys just passed their funding goal with flying colors, I am still going to talk about Drift Stage!

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Drift Stage has no story. You just pick a car, drift, drive, and make sure to finish first in this very arcade-inspired racing game. The main gimmick of this racing game is, as the name suggests, an arcade racer that leans on the tactical use of drifting. Do you drift and save yourself a few seconds? Or do you just keep on pushing and try to stay in first and stay in the safe lane? The game will also have multiple modes including Single Race, Time Trail, Infinite Drift, Daily Challenges, Career Mode, Workshop to customize your cars, and luckily, offline and local multiplayer. You will definitely have a lot of reasons to replay through the game.

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I love the graphics for this game. Sure, it is a bunch of neon and sea foam colors, but that’s what makes it unique. It reminds me of the graphical limitations from games like the original King’s Quests and Space Quest games before they had nicer looking 16-bit graphics. All those bright pinks, oranges, yellows, greens, and blues make this game stand out among a lot of games on Kickstarter. The person composing the music is named Hugh Myrone, and he captures the high energy spirit of arcade racers with the music. While someone could argue that the music can be a bit too energetic, I think it fits perfectly. When I play a racing game, I want to have a smile on my face, have that spirit to keep racing, and feel like an explosion of energy after finishing in first.

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So, do I have any concerns or suggestions about this game? While I knew I was playing a demo that was in its alpha state, I felt like the controls could have been set up differently. To test out if my thoughts were on track, I put in my Wii U copy of Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing Transformed, and I found out something that the developers should think about, have only one button committed to drifting. While I was playing All Stars Racing Transformed, I found the controls and driving to be smoother since I didn’t have to focus on timing the two different button presses on my Xbox 360 controller. Again, I know the demo was in an alpha state and won’t be the final product, but racing games, like platformers, live and die by their tight controls. If I can’t drift at the drop of a dime due to clunky controls, then the satisfaction of arcade-style racing is ruined. I also hope there is enough variety in the levels. It’s cool that they added a car customization feature, but it would also be cool to add in a stretch goal of a simple, but effective level creator. I also hope that if there are different sets of difficulty, that the game doesn’t punish you for making one mistake, which costs you the race, or keeps the rest of the game locked behind the harder difficulties. I really hate it when racing games do that, where just one little screw-up costs you the game. I also don’t care for content to be locked behind the harder difficulties, and due to said harder difficulty, makes it almost unfair to the player to get past unless you have enough luck to win the perfect race. It doesn’t make me want to try out the harder settings. Racing games have done this for a while now, where they lock out parts of the game to the really cheap or tedious difficulty modes because without that difficulty, the game would be short. I would rather have a game be fun and short than drawn out by difficulty that makes the game less fun.

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Overall, Drift Stage is a fantastic Kickstarter to start out 2015 with. Bright colorful graphics, simple, but incredibly satisfying gameplay, and you even get to try out a demo of the game. Just a heads-up, the demo, like I mentioned is in alpha state so don’t expect this to be what the final product will end up like. I am not really surprised, but Drift Stage has reached its funding goal in just a few days, and might have stretch goals set up in the near future. If you love old-school arcade racing games like Outrun, then you should definitely back this Kickstarter. Plus, the entry fee for a free copy is only $10, which for this kind of game is a steal. Congrats to Super Systems Softwares, Drift Stage gets my official Kickstarter Shout-out!

(If you want to support this Kickstarter, go to this link!)