Are you ready for donuts?
This driving game is not about speed, but control, and how far and for how long you can drift your vehicle. Drifting is all about turning one way and then counter-steering to slide around corners, and fans of rally games or titles such as Daytona USA will be familiar with the concept.
Absolute Drift: Zen Edition has five free-roaming areas and three game modes, with 34 levels overall. I hate to sound simplistic, but learning how to drift really is the essence of this game – you have to master the art to succeed. The tutorial section shows you the basics, with the controls being typical of most driving games. ZR starts the car moving and held down accelerates your vehicle, ZL is the brake, with X and A being the clutch and handbrake respectively. If you choose to go for manual transmission then B moves you down a gear and Y moves you up a gear. When you first start you will want to make use of automatic transmission whilst you get used to drifting your vehicle. Trying to shift gears when you first dive in can add too much to do, so going for a ‘less is more’ approach, to begin with, will reap rewards as you feel your way into the mechanics of the game.
The free-roam sections are a great place to hone your drifting skills. You pick up experience points as you drift between cranes, boxes and get as close as you can to poles like those you would expect to see on a slalom run when skiing. Master your donut skills and fly over jumps and you’ll open new levels, each with garages that you can drive into and take on different challenges. You have NASCAR style circuits as well as tracks that are just, well, very very bendy.
Each stage has a set of objectives to complete. Three-second drifts, five-second drifts, and making sure you don’t crash! Crash you often will to begin with, but as you get to understand braking and handbrake turns, you’ll rack up the necessary points to open up the next stages. The key to a good drift is knowing how much power to put on the accelerator and when to use the handbrake to start your turn. Then as you counter steer you are drifting! There is a good sense of speed from the cars and you will know when you are going too fast, as this is when you will lose control of your car completely. Mastering the game is all part of the fun, although there are occasions where the cars feel a little heavy and perhaps too unforgiving.
The graphics are minimalistic, with bright white tracks, yellow cranes and buildings, and thick black outlines – it’s a look that works really well with the game itself. The ‘Midnight Drift’ level in particular – where you’re above a city with just your headlights to guide you – is beautiful. As you drive around each given area you’ll leave tracks behind you, adding an artistic feel, and there really is just something gorgeous in the sheer simplicity of how everything looks.
The music is some of the best I have experienced from a video game in 2020. Drum and Bass is the order of the day, and incredibly catchy tunes will have you dancing away while playing. You can change the tracks simply by pressing the R button if you fancy a different beat to drift along to.
Overall, Absolute Drift Zen Edition is a neat package that sadly ends too soon. The online leaderboards are a nice touch, but what I really wanted was to play someone online, so that’s a missed opportunity. For less than £10, however, this is well worth a look if you are after something a little different from your normal racing fix.
Absolute Drift: Zen Edition £8.99
Absolute Drift: Zen Edition is easy to pick up, but can be tricky to master. Once you get the hang of the drifting, there is plenty of enjoyment to be had with high scores to chase, even without an online multiplayer component.