Back in the day, arcade racers were king. Before there were hardcore simulators like Forza and Gran Turismo, F1 or GTR were major players in the industry. There was also the craziness of Daytona, Ridge Racer, Crazy Taxi, and Cruis’n USA for fans to dive into. To push the envelope even further, they have arena/arcade multiplayer driving games like Mario Kart, Wipeout, and Twisted Metal. New developer Digital Reality brings us Skydrift Infinity, an itch that scratches both genres while still being as grounded as possible with all the fun.
Take to the skies in this combat racer with 7 others in multiplayer online or solo campaigns. This game is simple. Race to be first to win and do what you can to get there using 6 power-ups strewn about the racetrack to either shoot down your enemies or protect yourself from them. Each race I have tried has been intense and fast-paced. Players can not just simply maneuver around the map without knowing how to use drifting and axis techniques to get around obstacles, tight corners, and small spaces. If you gain a weapon that you don’t need no worries. Just discard it to gain an extra boost in speed to outpace your opponents in a pinch. Some power-ups are more useful than others, especially depending on the map, but luckily the discard option for boosting exists. Here are some of the power-ups that you will find:
- Missile: Hold it long enough behind an enemy to lock on to hit them and slow them down. If they are already low on health, then they will be destroyed for a few seconds.
- Shockwave: Slow and damage enemies in a blast radius surrounding the player. This can also be used to block any incoming missile fire.
- Mine: Just like a banana peel, leave this mine behind you for enemies to run into while the dogfight gets tough.
- Shield: Block enemy damage. Thanks to an alert system that tells players of incoming missiles, this shield can be used properly to gain an advantage.
- Repair: Speaks for itself. Take enough damage and your plane explodes, costing players a few seconds of time. Keep your health up and keep the race going!
- Cannon: More of a nuisance than a useful item in my opinion. It can pick off any remaining health off of an opponent or use it for boost fodder as I do.
SkyDrift Infinity does allow players to carry two power-ups at a time and can switch between them causing some very useful strategies during a tough battle. The flying and combat are fast enough to where quick thinking will be the greatest benefit to gaining the lead.
Each plane has its benefits as well. The selection of 16+ fighters has stats such as speed, armor, handling, acceleration, boost power, and other useful racing perks. Some of my favorites are the Cooper Evo for its maneuverability, Tri-wing, and the Cloud Liner. There are some interesting obstacles to maneuver around so tend to gravitate towards that state the most. It’s great to see some variety in the plane models as well with the addition of skins. Some are the typical color palette change but others look way cooler. There’s a Darksiders model I have yet to unlock and am curious to find out how. There are plenty of planes to unlock based on performance and progress throughout the campaign and multiplayer modes. Earning medals helps unlockables and gives those completionists a goal to accomplish for replayability.
The speed race mode is fun, tense, and does not allow the use of power-ups. It simply comes down to who can make it first in one piece and make use of boost properly. There are rings to fly through that speed up players and opponents so the more of them you go through, the more of a chance you have to make it to first place. Crash, and it will set you back. Survival mode offers an interesting challenge and the most fun to me. Stay ahead of the last place is the gist of it. A timer counts down and when it runs out, whoever is last is destroyed and eliminated. If you aren’t first, you’re last…and eliminated. This keeps going until first place wins and left last standing.
SkyDrift Infinity is a fun game and is recommended for those high-octane arcade race fans. The only downside to the game is using the traditional Nintendo Switch controller can be awkward when trying to drift and adjust your plane axis at the same time while trying to shoot a missile or deploy a shield. The multitasking demand of the game just doesn’t work on a small controller. I highly suggest using a Pro Controller to mitigate the problem. I also cannot stand the announcer throughout each race. Luckily you can lower the volume of it or remove it completely. It was just a constant repetition of the same voice-over tracks.
SkyDrift is easy to learn and difficult to master. Each level gets incrementally more difficult and has more hazards falling your way. Learn to maneuver around while trying to beat whoever is ahead is tricky and satisfying. On Nintendo Switch, the $14.99 price is well worth it. Great value and decent replayability are guaranteed. Hopefully, Digital Reality can offer more by way of DLC or sequels to further expand this fun racing madness of a game. Happy flying!