I did not have the pleasure to play the original Skydrift game launched ten years ago, but the enhanced version launched last week promises a handful of improvements that make it the better of the two.
Before jumping into the actual campaign, I would strongly recommend playing the tutorial for a few minutes to familiarize with the controls. Skydrift Infinity lets you fly a myriad of planes on various maps but being the fastest will not always get you across the finish line.
The campaign mode features seven stages that unlock consecutively once you complete a certain number of races. At the end of each race, depending on how you perform, you get to unlock skins and new planes, including two Darksiders-themed models that are mind-blowing.
Across the 7-stage campaign, I got to partake in deathmatches and armed races as well as other competitions. Five race modes smartly implemented in the campaign mode provided me with enough variation to keep me invested in the game for a few hours.
Each race mode has its own goals and rules, but I had the most fun with the standard Power Race, where you collect power-ups and kill your opponents repeatedly. There aren’t too many power-ups in the game, but that’s certainly not a bad thing. Some of these power-ups are meant to damage your opponents, while others will shield or repair your plane. There is not too much strategy involved in this type of race, just pure mayhem.
Speed Race is the most basic type of race because it does not involve anything else but speed and finesse. Typically, you will be flying through a network of circles that boost your airplane’s speed beyond its limits. It is quite simple: the more circles you manage to pass through, the faster you are.
The only race where you need to plan ahead is Survivor, a classic “knockout” type of race where the plane in last place at the end of a 30-second timer is removed from the race. Obviously, the last plane standing wins the race.
Although I am not an adept of “pure mayhem” type of modes, I had a lot of fun playing both Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes, which is basically “battle arena” but with planes. You pick up power-ups and try to score as many points as possible until the end of the round.
The game can be played alone or with friends. Locally, you can play in split-screen mode (vertically), but you can also or compete online against other players. Unfortunately, it’s a bit hard to find players for online races, but the situation may change as more people pick up the game.Conclusion
It’s true that Skydrift Infinity requires some sort of precision and careful maneuvering, but the tight controls certainly help with that. Coming from car racers, I found Skydrift Infinity a little bit frustrating at first, but after much consideration I must admit that controls are as intuitive as they can be for an arcade game.
Skydrift Infinity is hard enough to offer a challenge to veterans of the genre, but casual players will find it equally enjoyable by lowering the difficulty of the races. If you can get past the dated visuals, Skydrift Infinity is likely to become your favorite sky-racing game.