Review: Bears Can’t Drift!?
One of my favorite genres in video gaming is the kart racer. When I first saw Bears Can’t Drift!? I got excited that this may be a good kart racer for the PS4, and for the most part, it succeeds. Bears Can’t Drift!? doesn’t tell you much when you first start, and its menu and controls are simplified, but a little confusing at first. The game may be fun with friends, but the lack of a deeper single player and some unclear track design gets in the way of a decent racer.
There isn’t a ton of content with Bears Can’t Drift!?, but what is there is enough to grab your attention for some time. The game includes 12 different tracks over 3 areas, 3 main modes, and 3 difficulty modes. Unlocking the difficulty modes are tricky as you’ll need to drive through specific areas to access them. Driving through the hardest difficulty area is tough, as you’ll need to perfectly time a jump or you can’t access it. If you are wanting a challenge, you’ll want to unlock this mode as the lesser two difficulty modes feel like the other racers are going half the speed you are. The main gameplay modes include a standard race, a battle mode to see who can gather the most food, and a time trial. Standard races are traditional, but lose its appeal after you’ve played through each of the tracks. The battle mode is perhaps my favorite mode, as the more food you eat, the bigger your bear driver becomes. This makes it difficult to see where the next food is as your stomach becomes so large. Time trials are pretty standard, and finding the short cuts are vital to placing first on the local leaderboards. Online leaderboards would have been a nice addition.
Standard races and the battle mode include weapons and items to better improve your place in the race for first. Each item has a standard mode of use, but that same item can be gathered again for a more powerful, sometimes different item. For example, a boost can be collected, but if another one of that same item is collected, it becomes a mortar attack that attacks all the enemies in the area. It would make sense that the item would become a more powerful boost related item, but it’s not the case. On the other hand, if you collect a rocket shot item, you can gather another which then allows you to shoot more, faster rockets. It’s a process of trial and error that doesn’t make sense at first, but once you have a few races under your belt, it shouldn’t be an issue.
An issue I have with the game is the track design. Most tracks don’t seem to take place in a round, circular track. Instead, they take place in an area where you’ll follow a holographic arrow that points you in the right direction, only on the easiest difficulty setting. It is difficult when trying to find shortcuts, as if you don’t go the way the game wants you to go, it practically doesn’t count your lap when you return to the starting point. I found myself finishing in the middle of the pack in some races when I knew I finished in first. Turns out I didn’t go the way the game intended for me to go and it didn’t count my laps. It becomes a simple problem to fix, but it is a minor gripe when trying to find shortcuts.
Contrary to the title of the game, bears can in fact drift. Using the circle button, you can drift around corners to gain a better position, but I didn’t notice an increase in speed. I found that I only needed to use the drift mechanic on the hardest difficulty setting to better cut corners. Unless you are playing for all the three star ratings on each track, or are playing a hardcore session with your friends in local multiplayer, the game isn’t dependent on using the drift mechanic.
Music and graphics are pretty simple in the game, and that’s not a bad thing. There aren’t many songs in the soundtrack, so expect to hear some of the same jingles repeated. Each area in the game: forest, arctic, and ruins evokes their own tones and graphical style. Bears Can’t Drift!? uses a wide range of colors to create a bright and vibrant game. If you are adventurous, each track has two hats to collect for your bear to wear. These hats are just cosmetic, and are a nice touch for collectors looking to go off the beaten path.
Bears Can’t Drift!? asks a questions if bears can drift, but it turns out they actually can. The game is a decent racer and is meant to be played locally with friends. It won’t take long to complete all the game has to offer, so your mileage with the game really depends on how much you play with friends. Track design is confusing and isn’t very straight forward, but after some trial and error, you’ll be on the right path. The next time some friends come over and we are looking for something to play, I may bust out the battle mode for some local competitive play.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Battle mode
- Local multiplayer
- Colorful areas
- Collectible hats
What I Dislike:
- Track Design
- Wished there was at least online leaderbords
- Confusing weapon upgrades