Drive!Drive!Drive! is quite a head-scratcher on the first few runs, but when it clicks - it absolutely shines
Drive!Drive!Drive! is like a Track Mania hotseat session moulded by Nitronic Rush, but calling it just that wouldn’t do different cloth's piece justice. The game is about racing, up to four tracks at once. You drive one car at a time, while the game's somewhat incompetent AI takes over the wheel on all races lacking your expert supervision, at any given time.
In order to score and proceed, you must place well on all tracks simultaneously. Preferably first, if you are racing for that elusive gold medal. Switching between tracks is a quick, one button affair, if you are grabbing the steering wheel of the track right above or below you. Strategising about where to race next is accommodated by freezing time for an overview of all currently running laps. Every lap is a final lap, just that you are driving on several final laps at the same time.
The effect this produces is mostly a periodic crescendo, in which you accumulate boost by crashing and drifting to make a decisive push past your competition, or using up an already accumulated boost on a separate race track to overtake your rivals in a strait line. Loads of fun, and much more intuitive than it sounds, once you get the hang of it.
DriveDriveDrive’s minimalist aesthetic is well placed to compensate for the chaos of jumping and crashing with your opponents on the tracks. And you will crash frequently. The physics of the game have a very arcade feel to them, with little ambition in the way of simulating an actual realistic vehicle. A slight mistake will send you flipping and crashing off the track at high speeds, which isn’t that big of a deal considering how short individual races are. The pre-release version at our disposal had a single muscle-car-like available vehicle, while the full version seems to have a wide array of cars, ranging from races to trucks. The experimental rock duo ZOMBI contributed the game's soundtrack, with a welcome change of pace, in the shape of a more organic sound, compared to the 80’s retro and dark wave music in somewhat similar racing titles in recent memory.
Once you have a solid grip on the mechanics, there is a simple and straight forward tool at hand for creating and uploading custom tracks, with four game modes: purist, arcade, collection and time trial.
Overall, Drive!Drive!Drive! is a bold and quite successful experiment, daring to mix up the rhythm and pacing you might have come to expect from an arcade racing game. Sporting a hectic and confident style, this indie title is quite worth your time, if you already enjoy the racing genre in the spirit of Track Mania or Nitronic Rush, or if you are just plain looking for something different.