Inertial Drift has been out for a little while now, but looking back over the archives we haven’t given it a ton of love here on Rice Digital. Yet, anyway! That all changes right now, ‘cause I love Inertial Drift and think more people should be playing it. So here are ten reasons you should be playing Inertial Drift right now!
It’s a 21st century arcade racer
If you’re a fan of Japanese games, chances are you grew up with games like Namco’s classic Ridge Racer series, Genki’s Tokyo Highway Challenge or Sega’s many incredible entries to the genre. Arcade racers are an important part of gaming history.
But for some time, arcade racers looked like they might be a dying breed, as sim-style racers exploded in popularity on a variety of platforms. Today, however, arcade-style racers are having a bit of a renaissance — and a lot of it can be attributed to games like Inertial Drift, and more broadly certain quarters of the independent development sector keen to resurrect classic game styles that triple-A is no longer interested in.
Its unique controls are built for controller, not wheel
Many racing games are best played with a steering wheel and pedals combination, meaning it can get a bit expensive if you really want to get the best out of your favourite titles. Not so with Inertial Drift, however. This is a game that is built specifically for controllers with two analogue sticks — something that pretty much everyone playing the game will have easy access to.
In Inertial Drift, your left stick allows you to steer and correct your direction slightly by itself, but in order to succeed, you’ll need to also use the right stick. This allows you to swing your car’s back end out and slide around corners sideways, like Mother Nature always intended.
Each car handles very differently
There are a variety of different cars in Inertial Drift, and each one of them handles the twin-stick control scheme a little differently. Some will just slide out the moment you touch the right stick; others might require you to brake first to trigger a drift, or hammer down the accelerator to throw the back end out.
Mastering the game and its many challenges will mean you’ll need to learn how to tame all of the beastly cars available to you, not just the most straightforward ones!
Varied event types keep things interesting
You won’t just be racing in Inertial Drift. Sometimes you’ll be attempting to beat best times by racing against a ghost, sometimes you’ll be trying to complete as many laps as possible in a set time limit — and sometimes you’ll be trying to score as many points as possible by pulling off absurd moves.
There are plenty of things to do, and as you progress in the game the challenges get seriously tough, so this one should keep you busy for quite some time!
Failure is an option
In the game’s story mode, you can get to know the various cars and courses without worrying about whether or not you’re “winning”, since even if you fail you can move on to the next event rather than getting stuck. Failing is an important part of learning how to get better, after all — and you can always go back and retry the stages you didn’t manage to clear.
In fact, if you want to “beat” the game properly, you’ll need to do this — but if you just want to enjoy the high-speed drift action without pressure, and with the support of a group of kind virtual friends, you’re in the right place.
You can play how you want
If you’re in the mood for a specific type of race, the Arcade mode allows you to pick from any of the courses that are available to you, then choose what kind of event you want to compete in, from a simple practice run around the course to the Tokyo Highway Challenge-style points-based “Duel” mode.
This is a great means of trying out combinations of cars, tracks and opponents, since you can set up Arcade mode in the exact way you want. If you just fancy a single race on your terms, Arcade mode is hard to beat.
There’s a ton of unlockables
The game’s Challenge mode tasks you with beating a variety of different opponents in order to unlock their car for your own use. You’ll need to have met the owner of the car in Story mode before you challenge them, however, so between these two modes there’s plenty of incentive to explore everything the game has to offer — and to give some vehicles that might be distinctly out of your normal comfort zone a bit of a chance!
The challenges themselves task you with using a specific car to meet a particular objective based on the game’s main race types. You’ll need to practice these a few times!
There’s split-screen multiplayer
How many games can you say that about these days? Not many outside of Mario Kart, I’d wager.
Inertial Drift provides the opportunity to pass a controller to a friend and race together to see who truly is the best at taking corners sideways… and who is the best at scraping all the paintwork off their front bumper.
There’s a physical release
As a dedicated connoisseur of gaming, of course you want to put your favourite games on your shelf rather than consigning them to the ever-growing black hole that is your digital download library.
Thankfully, both the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch versions of Inertial Drift have physical releases you can proudly display and show off to your friends. That is, if we were allowed to have friends over any more. Oh well, you and your cat can still admire it yourselves while you wistfully remember The Before Times.
Dat aesthetic tho
Inertial Drift combines a beautiful cel-shaded, neon-infused visual aesthetic inspired by classic anime with some jazz and funk-inspired fusion music that ‘90s era Namco would be proud of.
Clearly Inertial Drift’s developers Level 91 are fans of Ridge Racer Type 4 on the original PlayStation, and that means they’re friends of mine.
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