Drift Runners is a rip-roaring overhead racing game from developer Long Animals, with a variety of goals and a focus on destruction, rather than mere speed. This is one of the most entertaining racers I've seen in Flash, thanks mainly to one thing—it gets the controls right. That may be an odd thing to say about a game with no button for brakes, or even reverse, but this is an arcadey racer that knows what it wants to be: fast, chaotic, and fun. There were no brakes in Super Sprint either.
Just choose a car (makes no difference, really) and a paint job, then pick a track (only one is available to begin with) and you're off to the races. Steer with [Left] and [Right], accelerate with [Up]. Remember, this is Drift Runners, and that means you won't carve the corners so much as shred them. Drifting wouldn't give you this kind of advantage in real life, but here it lets you slide through corners with no regard for traditional physics.
Each of the six tracks has several different achievements to earn, but don't bother going for everything in the first try. Most of them contradict each other anyway. You'll need to get first place in a race to unlock the next one, but winning races and earning points are two separate animals. You get points by clocking air time over jumps, drifting, smashing up the roadside ornaments, doing pretty much anything at all besides peacefully driving within reasonable speed parameters with your hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel.
Be sure to collect coins from the side of the road. You can spend them to upgrade your car between races.
Analysis: It's not the ideal overhead racer some of us are waiting for. The courses feel a little too similar to each other, and some of the achievements seem redundant. There's a balancing/cheating effect in place to keep the races close, which is fine and even helpful when you're lagging behind, but sometimes the enemy AI takes advantage and passes you at utterly unfair speeds. And there's no engine sound effect. I can understand if Long Animals didn't want the game to be 95% revving, like so many other racers, but I still want to hear my little car go go go.
But again, Drift Runners gets the controls right. It looks pretty. It makes crashing and screeching sounds at all the right times, and it rewards you for breaking stuff. That spells fun in my book. Give it a spin.
When I first tried this game I wasn't all that impressed, but after giving it a chance I have gotten to the point where I just can't stop.
I'm a sucker for achievements, and the achievements offered here forced me to play long enough to really get into it. You're right, Psychotronic, the controls are beautifully done.
I have never really liked any top-down racers, mainly because I suck at almost any racing games, and especially at those overhead perspective ones, but this!
And I am drifting, and thats sweet drifting this is, even as for now I find it impossibel to make the 100 skid.
And I don't miss any breaks. Great fun.
"The courses feel a little too similar to each other"
Actually, they're not just similar to each other, there's really only 3 tracks, 4-6 are mirrored versions of 1-3.
Hi. I like your web site a lot. I just discovered it and I'm going to play some of the games.
[Edit: If you have a game you'd like to suggest for review, please use the "Submit" button located at the top right of every page on the site. Thanks! -Pam]
Psychotronic, it's [Up] to accelerate, not [Space].
[EDIT: Thanks for the correction. Some kind of brain problem, I guess. -Psychotronic]
Anyways, I felt the drifting part of the game was a little overdone. Yes, drifting is fun, but there are turns where it takes you from first down to fourth or lower, mainly because it makes you do a very wide turn. There should be a certain button you press to drift instead of always drifting. The only way around this was to ram the inside wall of turns and turn while hugging the wall. I"m not sure why it hugs the wall when you ram against it, but it can certainly shave a few seconds off your final time.
Steering and lightness didn't seem to have a big effect on how the car handled, even when they're upgraded fully. I assume it makes your drifts tighter and your air time higher [respectively], but I didn't notice it handling any better than when those weren't upgraded at all.
I didn't like how it "remembered" which coins you picked up, and prevented those from showing up again until you reloaded the page. This forced me to go out of my way to pick up coins I hadn't picked up before, which slowed me down and delayed me getting some of the achievements (some of them require a high acceleration and top speed, and I chose to upgrade steering and lightness to go for the air and drift achievements). Reloading the page makes getting maxed stats a lot easier than picking up every last coin, but it shouldn't "remember" to begin with.
Some of the achievements are a little hard, but I'm sure it's easy for others. For example, it was hard finding the right turns to drift through in challenge 3 to get a single drift score of 100 or higher, but once I found it, I was able to get that and the total drift achievement in one race.
Hint: You can drive around slowly and collect the coins. Even if you lose the race or don't finish, you get to keep the money.
Some of the achievements are extremely difficult. I was never able to get a drift of 200, and trying to destroy 40 objects on the final track I couldn't pull off because the other cars would destroy them first.
I can't get those two achievements either. This is a bit frustrating, and almost spoils a very enjoyable game.
The longest drift I've managed was around 170, and that was a freak occurrence, so if anyone has any tips...
Long skids are not too difficult.
There is just one thing to know, which you can work out if you think about it
You really want to know? It is very simple
Start a long skid and then pulse the accelerator to perform doughnuts within the track width.
MdB: Try as I might, I can't pull it off. I always lose momentum and it halts my skid. :(
If this is what "getting the controls right" is like, I'd hate to see what it's like if the controls are wrong. If I want my car to go to the right, I expect to hit the [gasp!] RIGHT arrow, not the left arrow.
Thanks MdB, that worked! And I managed to get over 40 objects on the final track, so I've got all the achievements.
It would have been nice to have some sort of congratulations message on completion...
Stop spreading misinformation in your reviews. Drifting does not allow you to maintain speed throughout a corner, nor is it efficient. It is much slower than the conventional tactic of braking from the outside, turning into the apex, and accelerating from there.
ergsfd: I have absolutely no stake in how drifting is perceived by the world at large. I'll be happy to change that sentence to something more accurate. How would you describe the purpose of drifting?
In your statement, you say, "The whole point of drifting in real life is to take sharp turns without having to slow down." As stated in my last comment, that can be nothing further than the truth.
Drifting can be described as nothing more than controlled oversteer, which is a trait that racing teams spend countless dollars and hours of work trying to correct.
Contrary to your statement, drifting offers absolutely NO benefit in real world competitive racing. It would hurt your times more than help...not to mention greatly increase unnecessary wear on the tires, suspension, frame, and many other automotive systems.
Drifting is nothing more than a tactic used to show off. However, billows of smoke and a car sliding sideways on the verge of losing control is exciting to watch. Hollywood has capitalized on this for decades, but with positive public reception of the Fast & Furious series in recent years, it has become popular enough to spawn its own subculture.
As with all information, as it is passed along, the chance of the original meaning being misunderstood greatly rises. The average person who is uninformed about auto racing that watches a F&F film will come out of the theater thinking that drifting is something that is desirable, even in competitive racing. However, as outlined in these few paragraphs, drifting is the antithesis of desirable in that situation.
I partly blame the game developer for this though, as the emphasis of the game play lies in drifting. It is clearly nothing more than a capitalization on the popularity of the drifting subculture. Take any Need For Speed game released in the last 5 years or so, for example.
Another sign of misinformation by the developer is the cars available. Drifting, in it's true essence, is only possible with a rear wheel drive vehicle. It is definitely possible for all wheel drive cars to drift, but the majority of the engines power must be routed to the rear wheels to drift well, mimicking RWD. The cars used as models for the game look like a Honda Prelude and CR-X, both of which are front wheel drive.
It is not possible to initiate controlled oversteer in a front wheel drive car. Front wheel drive vehicles are prone to understeer, which makes a car keep going in a straight line even if the wheel is turned. Some argue that it is possible to achieve FWD oversteer by using the handbrake, but the results cannot begin to compare to RWD drifting and this is generally frowned upon. The overwhelming majority of FWD drifting supporters are nothing more than teenagers who cannot afford or cannot find a suitable RWD or AWD vehicle for drifting.
I have no problem with a developer providing their end users with something that is exciting and fun to play, but I do have a problem with the mainstream acceptance of drifting seen as something that is desirable. Promoting a skill claiming that it will allow you to go faster or maintain speed when, in actuality, it is used for nothing more than showing off could influence the uninformed racer to perform an extremely dangerous maneuver in an already dangerous situation for no benefit whatsoever. I have personally know several young drivers who have injured themselves and others attempting to drift, both on and off of the racetrack, thinking that it would give them an advantage in a race.
In summation, tl;dr.
ergsfd/asdf: I appreciate getting a detailed perspective, but I hope you can understand that it's not feasible to put that much information in a short, casual review of an arcade-style, casual game. It's important to me not to be spreading misinformation, but I don't want to trade one inaccuracy for another, so please indulge me for a moment.
It's my understanding, based on several different sources, that drifting originally became popular in Japan because some drivers were actually using it to gain a competitive advantage in regular races. A subculture of mountain races based on drifting grew out of that. Then that subculture spilled over into USA racing, mostly due to the F&F movies (which I haven't seen), maybe Pixar's Cars (which I have), and video games.
Is any part of that wrong? Because it would make the difference between "drifting is rarely useful in real competitive racing" and "never useful".
Drifting was single-handedly popularized by a Japanese racer in the 70's who would drift through the apex of corners. At that time, the zenith of tire technology was bias ply. These types of tires did benefit from driving styles with a high slip angle.
However, bias ply tires have not been used in nearly thirty years. Ever since the advent of radial tires, I cannot recall a use for bias ply in competitive racing.
Japanese teens and young adults would see that driver performing these sliding turns on television and want to try it out for themselves. That is how the drifting subculture was started. In Japan, there obviously is not much space in an urban area to practice drifting, so another subculture within the drifting subculture was born, called touge. Japanese racers would go to the outskirts of their cities and drive around twisting canyon roads with their rear ends sliding around the corners. As stated before, this was a generation ago, and current tire technology does not benefit from drifting.
Touge/drift "racing" is somewhat of a misnomer. Correct me if I am wrong, but the common understanding of a race is one where the goal is to beat some sort of opposition, whether it be another racer(s) or a set time, preferably finishing the race as quickly as possible by using the best technique. In regards to touge/drift "racing", this concept is thrown out the window. The winner of a touge/drift "race" is primarily determined by the car that can slide sideways for longer, produce more smoke, and maintain a higher slide angle than the opposing driver.
For example, let's say we are spectators for a heads-up touge "race" between two drivers. Driver A completes the course first, using a grip-based driving style. Driver B loses by a considerable amount of time, but he stylishly drifts around the corners. In a touge race, Driver B would be considered the winner, even though he would have clearly lost under typical race parameters. I would like to know how that is considered a form of "racing", when it is nothing more than just showing off a stylish maneuver?
Don't even get me started on "professional" drifting associations like D1GP or Formula D. There is no real statistical way to judge the outcome of a drift "race" since it is based on "style", so in those competitions, the drivers who are sponsored by the same companies that sponsor the event/association are ALWAYS the winners of the so-called "races." A driver sponsored by a different company could have an amazing run that the entire crowd would agree was the best run of the day, but in the end, the big name drivers with the big sponsors are the ones that end up on the podium with sub-par runs. (In regards to judging, they could use accelerometers and the car's traction control system to calculate tire slip and slide angle, but I'm fairly sure they don't and there's not really a way to measure the exact amount of tire smoke produced.)
If you wish to see yourself proof that drifting is in fact slower than grip driving styles in this age of motorsports, please feel free to turn on your television and watch any type of professional racing event. If you have ever watched any kind of race, how often have you seen a Formula 1 car slide through corners with the rear out and smoke everywhere? How about stock cars(NASCAR)? Touring(GT, DTM)? You won't see it happening(not on purpose, at least) in any race unless the driver has a substantial lead and wants to show off on the last lap or something.
If that is not enough evidence for you, the topic of drift vs grip racing styles have been beaten to death on message boards since before drifting was glorified in our movies and video games. People in the auto community are so sick of hearing uninformed adults or stubborn teenagers who swear that drifting is somehow faster. Go to a site like Drifting.com's message board, post a thread titled "Drift or grip, which is faster", and I would bet $100 that the thread would be closed as soon as a moderator saw it, hoping to keep the flame war from starting. You'd also probably get your posting privileges suspended as well along with a scornful message to your inbox.
I don't know what else I need to tell you for you to believe that drifting is nothing more than a slower, more stylish way of driving that has less benefits than traditional grip driving in any current, real world road racing competition. I work in the automotive industry(radiator manufacturing), I have been into every kind of racing since I was a teenager, I've had three sub-10 second drag cars that I've built myself(big block '32 Ford coupe, another identical '32 coupe except boosted, and I currently have a '64 Vette with a blown 502), I tried my hand in drifting back around 2003-05 with an FC3S(rotary's are way too much hassle)...If anyone knows anything about motorsports, someone who has devoted their life to them like I have would surely know. Who knows, you could just be one of those kids who like to troll on us older folks by starting drift vs grip flame wars just to rile us up even though they know we're right. If that's not your intention, my apologies.
Anyways...again, in summation, tl;dr
jfdhgfbsadf(if that is your real name):
I'm really not sure why you think I'm trying to get a rise out of you. Nor do I understand why you don't think I would read your entire comment.
All I've done is ask for information, and you've provided it. That's called civilized conversation where I come from. The part about radial vs. bias ply tires fills in the missing gap for me. None of the explanations of drifting I've read before mentioned the difference.
You see, I don't have any experience with motorsports boards, so I wouldn't know what their flame wars are about. If there's tension here, it's left over from something I've never been a part of. And like nearly 100% of internet flame wars, I have no interest in it.
Instead of having an argument, you got to educate anyone who would like to know something about the history of drifting and your perspective on it. I found it interesting, and I'll bet a lot of other readers have, too. Not everything on the internet has to be a fight.
So thank you for the info. I've altered the review a bit, and anyone reading the comments will see the history of the change.
Heh, someone needs to get a grip on himself, if you catch my drift.. :p