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G.G Series: DRIFT CIRCUIT - DSiWare Review

Game Info

DSiWare | 
Genterprise / SUZAK 
| 1 Player | Out Now (North America) | 200 Nintendo Points
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21st June 2012; By KnucklesSonic8

A name like "DRIFT CIRCUIT" tells you a lot about the kind of game to expect: a no-frills racing experience. But what seems like a given, there's actually much more to -- just not in a good way. A game that could be mistaken as a race track for toy cars with the speed of mobilized scooters, DRIFT CIRCUIT isn't like your ordinary racer. It's much worse. Already off to a bad start, I can assure you that things don't get better from here. G.G Series: DRIFT CIRCUIT isn't a good game and it should be avoided for a variety of reasons.

    Without getting too much into the formalities of the game's straightforward setup, DRIFT CIRCUIT sees players completing three difficulty settings with each featuring nine races (three courses repeated three times) of a triple-lap structure. Each time you go back to the same course, you'll aim for a higher placement until your only goal is complete victory. Simple controls have you using the B Button to accelerate, Y to brake, and the D-Pad to turn your vehicle. The top-down layouts are usually basic with a small helping of twisting and turning to be had, all set to the same general template as a means of contributing to the generic feeling of the game that quickly bubbles forth. Don't go picturing a highway-speed mish-mash of track layouts all set to a style that will have you whipping out your sunglasses. No, that would be what we call cliché. But interestingly, even though the game screams generic, using the word "cliché" wouldn't be especially appropriate to describe its gameplay. Why's that, you ask? Well, put simply, the gameplay flaws bring this title below average standards; standards that, as a nod to its true colours, DRIFT CIRCUIT is not capable of keeping up with. 

    It took a number of games before I got used to the rules of racing games when I was a kid (lots of Gran Turismo 2 helped, I'm sure), but I learned that I could reliably achieve maximum speed by going in a straight line. This all relates to DRIFT CIRCUIT for the reason that it takes this principle too seriously. As it happens, this is tied to a key fault that has a damaging effect on the game's already-pedestrian sense of pace. Believe it or not, simply making a turn actually slows you down dramatically. Take a wide turn, and you'll be inclined to look to the side of your system and see if you actually have the brake button held down at the same time. That's the kind of effect that they've imposed on turning and it is completely senseless. It's as if the game (and the cars therein) were designed as a training exercise for kids by parents who were overly cautious about a possible accident taking place. And on top of that, as if to teach you a lesson, you'll get stopped almost immediately after hitting a wall or bumping into a car. To be frank, "STIFF CIRCUIT" would have been a more fitting title for this game. At least with a name like that, there'd be no confusion as to the conditions found within this flawed racing title.

So how is it that players are supposed to stay on the assigned paths without being put to sleep? The drift mechanic, that's how. By pressing Left or Right on the D-Pad twice, you can drift in the given direction and turn the corner with minimal loss of speed. In light of the above, the argument could be made that the developers wanted to get you into the habit of drifting on a regular basis and did so by impeding your normal abilities. It probably made a bit of sense on paper, but here it's reproachable. On the subject of how this all relates to how races progress, your car is actually slightly faster than your competitors. However, since the game is already slow as it is, it doesn't mean much. Additionally, unless you play on Hard, it's actually very easy to catch up to the computer in 1st Place, if not pass him completely by the first time you cross the finish line to begin Lap 2.

    Furthermore, it's unexciting to pass your opponents and there's no feeling of accomplishment whatsoever. And when the floor is yours and you just want to step on it as you approach the finish line (or even just a simple straightaway for goodness sake), knowing that you're hampered in the ways that you are is a real downer. Worse than that, it's not good design. It's already been established that this is a thoroughly generic racer, but where DRIFT CIRCUIT does especially poorly is in providing any semblance of fun. Even if a racer doesn't do anything outstanding, there might still be fun to be had. I've played a number of titles over the years that prove that this can be the case. Not so here! The most fun you'll have is watching as a car you just snaked past collide with your bumper. With not even a new record amounting to anything meaningful, the game is devoid of excitement and fun factor.

    In terms of how everything looks, the game gives off the impression that it's even more low-budget than games you'd find on the mobile market. Part of the reason for this is that all nine courses (as small as they are) all stick to the same environment, but the aforementioned flaws play a considerable part in this also. The cars themselves look like they're being stretched at the sides as you try to turn a corner, and there are some minor technical issues with the display of text and sound effects. The included music is fine, but after a while you do want to mute it and listen to something from your own library of tunes on another electronic device. 

    Boring, slow, and worthless; this game is all those things plus a few more. I honestly have almost nothing positive to say about the game. This is definitely the low point of the G.G Series, as DRIFT CIRCUIT does not even adequately reflect the usual qualities of this normally-modest selection of games. I urge everyone to steer clear of this.

09/30 - Simply Awful

Gameplay 3/10 - Very slow sense of pace, senseless restrictions on turning, incapable of meeting certain standards, computers are easy to overtake
Presentation 5/10 - Functional but very generic, little-to-no variety in visuals, can only take so much of the music, minor technical issues
Enjoyment 0/5 - Nothing fun about this game at all, so very boring, by no means satisfying to pass opponents on the track, feel hampered by the design
Extra Content 1/5 - Multiple tracks exist but they all feel similar, high scores are meaningless, way more likely to give up on the game entirely

Equivalent to a score of 30% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by KnucklesSonic8

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