There is something about taking a long drive, music blaring, with no destination in mind that just puts me at ease. #DRIVE for Nintendo Switch takes that formula, inserts it into the endless runner genre, and tasks the player with collecting items to unlock new environments and vehicles.
In execution, #DRIVE is an enjoyable game in short bursts, but is not a game that is worth sinking tens of hours into.
The premise of #DRIVE is simple: select a vehicle, select a locale, and see how far you can drive before wrecking your car. There is no way to control the speed of the vehicles, so your focus will solely be on braking and avoiding a full-on two car explosion.
The game starts off in Dry Crumbs, an approximation of the southwest United States. But, by collecting postcards, a lot of postcards, new levels are unlocked. You will drive in the snowy UK countryside, Germany, Asia, and even Mars. However, depending on how quickly you pick the controls up, it’ll be many hours before you see all that #DRIVE has to offer.
Unlike many games in this genre, there is no pay-to-play or microtransactions. Everything that you earn has to be done through good ol’ game playing. From the eight locations to the 100+ vehicles, you are going to need to put in time to unlock everything.
Along the way, there are encounters with police and chances to pick up various power-ups: a snowplow to move cars out of your way, a doughnut (or different treat depending on your locale) to toss at the police when they catch up to you, gas cans to keep your vehicle topped off, and body shops to repair any damage you have incurred.
The power-ups are an enjoyable way to break up the monotony that most endless runners have, giving some semblance of strategy to each playthrough.
A fresh coat of paint
Visually, #DRIVE utilizes a graphical style that suits the game perfectly.. The low-polygon art style is very eye-catching on both the docked and undocked Nintendo Switch. It is not going to compete with the Forza’s of the world, but that would be overkill for a port of a mobile game.
The sound, however, can be quite hit or miss. Every locale has its own soundtrack and the music is both fitting and enjoyable the first few times that you hear it. But, the longer you play, the quicker you realize that you are listening to the same 30-45 second loop of music until you crash. There is some sparse voice acting by the driver, delivering very 70’s movie-esque quips as you go on your journey. The lines are well-delivered and enjoyable at first, but much like the short jingles, you will be able to recite the lines from memory before they are even finished being spoken in game.
How’s she handle?
The controls for #DRIVE are very simplistic. The player controls braking, steering, and drifting the car. The acceleration is done automatically.
There are two control schemes from which to choose. The first utilizes the left analog stick to control the steering, the “B” button to lay on the brakes, and the “A” button to perform drifting. The second scheme uses the shoulder buttons to steer, brake, and to control the drifting. In my experience, the second scheme works the best in practical use. If there was a way to re-map the buttons from the first scheme to the shoulder buttons that would be ideal, however none is available.
This baby can fit so many cars in it
The star of the game has to be the vast amount of vehicles. A primary motivator from the start, and a measly choice of two cars, is to unlock over a hundred vehicles.
Cars are rated in three stats: speed, acceleration, and grip. A car with low speed and high grip is the best option to push you towards heights. “But, Wyatt” you say, “this is a driving game. Don’t I want the fastest car available?” Surprisingly, in #DRIVE, the faster the car moves, the easier it is to cause a game-ending wreck.
None of the vehicles are licensed, but if you are any type of an autophile, you will recognize class cars from Volkswagen, Lamborghini, and others.
In addition to the replica cars, well-known vehicles from classic movies and TV shows could become your ride. Half of the fun is unlocking and looking at these vehicles, so you will get no more spoilers here.
Lemon or Le Mans?
#DRIVE is not the next blockbuster video game, but, what it does, it does well. If you are looking for a game to play in 15 minute spurts, this game will satisfy you.
If you are looking for a more realistic driving game with greater depth, I urge you to look elsewhere.