Drift Zone Review

By Mark Delaney, 4 months ago
Now more than ever there's a market for niche games. Taking a much broader game and trying to distill down to one or a few essential ingredients can, in theory, be successful. It just depends on what you choose to focus. For Awesome Industries, the idea is simple: take the drifting events of bigger racers like Forza and Need for Speed and create a more technical and focused gameplay loop of only that small segment. Drift Zone may be decent as a waiting room time-passer on Android phones where it originates, but on Xbox One, it just feels like it doesn't belong.

Developed and published by Awesome IndustriesDeveloped and published by Awesome Industries

The aptly named Drift Zone invites players to do only that: drift. Across three modes, the game challenges you to achieve high scores, make a bounty of cash, and upgrade a total of ten cars on route to winning everything the game has to offer. All modes can be done with two players locally, which is a nice addition. Sprint is a one lap race that demands you get your highest score possible in one quick go. Circuit mode goes on for as long as you can make it, doling out more time on the clock as you chain high score drifts. The final mode is just an open area to practice your skills.

It'll take a while before you can unlock the next round of events or all the vehicles, so it's not that the game is especially short, it's just so sparse in its diversity. Sadly, it does only one thing pretty well while other games do it just as well, if not better, among a bevy of other features. Chasing three stars on the same brief tracks gets old in a hurry, unless you really love drifting. It's a cookie cutter arcade experience and it probably feels right at home on a smartphone.

Without the licensing, Drift Zone offers ten lookalike vehiclesWithout the licensing, Drift Zone offers ten lookalike vehicles

For the most diehard fans of drift cars, there's some fun to be had in Drift Zone. The game allows you to get very technical with your vehicle tuning. This helps the small garage of ten unlicensed lookalike cars stretch their usefulness a bit more. Along with the deep tuning options, you can customize the aesthetics of your cars quite a bit. Changing color schemes piece by piece and adding different body kits is a nice touch for a game that otherwise is so clearly lacking in its offerings.

The achievements are mostly tied to high scores and unlocking the cars, and it can either be a relatively quick and easy list if you know how to tune the cars, or quite a struggle if you don't. Early estimates put the game at roughly a 10 hour completion just based on needing to really perfect every event. In reality, the completion times will be all over the place. If you love to tune cars to your own idea of perfect, you may get quite a Gamerscore boost from this one. If you're more of a casual racing fan, you may struggle to succeed here.

Check out our The Best Xbox Arcade Racing Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.

Summary

Ultimately there's not a lot to say about Drift Zone. It does one thing serviceably, but that one thing is done better in bigger games in abundance on Xbox One. As an Android title, you may have fun on a bus or in a waiting room with Drift Zone, but on your home console, it's hard to overlook just how sparse the gameplay suite is. Diehard fans of tuning and tweaking cars may enjoy a half dozen hours or so here, but for most people, Drift Zone is simply an unremarkable experience that makes a strong case for curation of the Xbox digital storefront.
2 / 5
Positives
  • Deep tuning and customization options
Negatives
  • One trick pony
  • Can be quite difficult if you aren't into tuning cars
  • A decent smartphone game that doesn't fit on home consoles
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent five hours drifting around the few brief tracks of Drift Zone, taking almost nothing remarkable away from the experience. He unlocked none of the game's 11 achievements. An Xbox One copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He's the Editorial Manager on TA, loves story-first games, and is one of three voices on the TA Playlist podcast. Outside of games he likes biking, sci-fi, the NFL, and spending time with his fiancée and son. He almost never writes in the third person.