The Fast And The Furious: SkyDrift
SkyDrift is a fast-paced racer that trades in exciting weaponized power-ups like missiles, machine guns, shockwaves and mines. Sounds a lot like WipEout, right? Well, the catch here is that instead of being bound to the ground, this time you are in a variety of souped-up historic aircraft that allow for movement on a whole other plane. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?) While the environments give the appearance offing wide open, they are in fact constrained by invisible boundaries that keep you on a set path (helpfully marked by giant arrows guiding you) and have more of a racetrack feel.
The three main modes of racing are Power Race, Speed Race and Survivor. Power Race is a standard race featuring a course littered with the half-dozen or so powerups, and you can hold two at any one time. Pick up a second copy of a powerup you already have, and it turns into an upgraded version. You also have a limited amount of afterburner that can be recharged by performing stunts (barrel rolls and the like that are performed by using the two analog sticks in various combinations), flying close to the ground, or absorbing collected powerups. Speed Race replaces the powerups with rings that provide a sped boost when you fly through, and Survivor is like Power Race, only every minute or so the lat place racer is eliminated until only one remains.
As you progress through the SP Campaign, you'll square off against seven AI foes in each of those mode over the course of seven levels of four to six races. You must get bronze or better to unlock more levels, but that isn't too much of a challenge in general, although some of the later courses get a little rough. Doing well and getting various kills and stunts will unlock badges and medals, as well as new skins and new planes. Planes have 5 stats that have ratings of one to five stars in Speed, Boost Power, Acceleration, Maneuverability and Armor. It's all pretty straight forward.
Online is the same game, only racing against humans instead of AI. I imagine it would be great fun and really frantic, since the game is so fast paced, but in my attempts to join a game I was met with silence. I'm sure enough time spent trying would eventually get me into a game, but ideally you'd have a few friends who'd hop on with you. I can't fault the designers for the lack of opponents, and I think it is a little sad that there isn't more activity in a game that just came out this week, but thankfully they DID include plenty of single player content.
The game looks quite pretty, with the planes having good detail when you can get one to sit still long enough to focus on it, and the environments are really pleasing to look at. Every level has lots of alternate paths and plenty of narrow gaps to fly into, around and over, especially the ones that take place in oil rigs and canyons. The game is fast enough that you might feel a little out of control at times, and you'll smash into stuff quite a bit, exploding instantly, but thankfully the game also instantly respawns you, so all you lose is a little momentum. It's nice and forgiving that way, which is much appreciated.
Should you play SkyDrift? Yes, you probably should. Because I need someone to play with! What are you waiting for? Go get it!