Review: G.G Series: Drift Circuit (DSiWare)

Slow-motion sickness

When it comes to the G.G Series, the plan is simple: choose a particular genre of gaming and produce an entertaining playing experience using not only a simplified musical and visual theme, but also a very basic set of play controls. So far that formula has worked well enough, but now this idea has been incorporated into the racing genre with the release of G.G Series: Drift Circuit. While the idea itself is fine, the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

At its core, Drift Circuit is pretty much a simple overhead racer that pits you against a group of other cars in a race to the finish line. You're given a specific finishing requirement at the start of the race that tells you in which place you must finish in order to move on to the next track. While this might sound like a simple enough task, you'll soon find that even finishing the race, given the gameplay scheme, can be quite tricky.

You start in last place. To make matters worse, when the race is started, the other drivers tend to jump out to a quick start while the hamster on the wheel under your hood takes his own sweet time to get your car moving. You'll then use the old RC Pro-Am style of play control to turn your car left and right, navigating the twists and turns of the track.

On top of your regular turns, you'll also be able to tap twice in the direction you want to turn in order to drift around a corner. Since you're barely moving, this won't add much of an advantage to regular turning, but every little bit helps. Of course you'd better hope that you don't run into an opponent's car as this will bring you to a near stop each time you do, which can make trying to pass the other cars a nightmare at times.

Since there's only basically one mode of racing in the game, there's not a lot of options to choose from. You will be able to select from three levels of difficulty, but those mainly determine how many twists and turns the track you'll be racing on features rather than add any type of challenge to the inept CPU racers.

The play controls of the game range from adequate to atrocious. For starters, your "race car" has the handling of a Greyhound bus with 6 flat tires, and the speed to match. Not only is there absolutely no sense of any real speed throughout the game, navigating corners is more of a lesson in futility than any type of excitement. Toss in a group of racers who'd be better off (and likely much faster) on foot than in their cars and you've got a racing experience that forgot to include the racing part.

Much like previous G.G. Series releases, the visual presentation is fairly basic in look and design. Since the game is set in an overheard perspective, you're not going to get much in the way of detail and the surroundings consist mostly of grassy areas with old tires strewn around them. The musical score shares most of these traits as well as the music you'll get to listen to is very upbeat, a complete contrast to the action taking place onscreen, almost as if the developer thought that they could make the race "feel" faster by layering in some up-tempo audio. Needless to say, it didn't work out.

Conclusion

The developers certainly had their hearts in the right place when they put Drift Circuit together, but something went terribly wrong along the way. When you combine the brutally slow speed of the cars with the completely uncompetitive CPU, you get a racing experience that's nearly devoid of any real fun. In the end, the G.G series has featured some unique and enjoyable little titles, but sadly this isn't one of them. In fact, about the only drifting you're likely to do in this game is drifting off to sleep.

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