[Alpha] Drift Stage
Drift Stage is another retro-inspired racer that isn’t afraid to express its love for neon. Admittedly, the alpha demo (download below) isn’t much and came out ages ago (sorry about that), but the project looks very much alive and has been receiving regular updates, anyone interested might want to test the ignition.
While Slipstream attempted to hark back to the forced 3D projections of the 80’s such as Outrun and its ilk, Drift Stage seems set to recreate the early blocky polygons of the 90’s, a la Ridge Racer on the PSX. It’s kind of funny, then, that for something inspired by 90’s games, Drift Stage is like, super totally in love with the 80’s, dude. The bright purple neon and synth heavy soundtrack are something right out of a straight-to-video American Ninja sequel.
Derivative though it may be, the production quality of the soundtrack (so far) is excellent. I’m not as sold on the visuals – the bright neon of the alpha level is a bit eye gouging, but I do like the plenitful buildings and rail tracks skimming across the area, making it feel like more than just a circuit floating in space. Judging by their Steam page, future levels will feature other less shiny colour palletes, like a lush beachside area.
There isn’t much to the alpha level – not even opponents to race against, it’s pretty much a time trial, but the controls are pretty responsive, and even as a non-driving game fanatic I got the hang of the drift turns pretty easily (maybe too easily?). I probably had the most fun, though, with Drift Stage’s “Photo mode”, accessed via the pause menu. In this mode, you can freely fly around the level, explore and take screenshots of the various sights. If the full game fleshes out its environments even further, this could be a neat little feature.