One of the coolest things about smartphones today is the almost universal support for accelerometers and other motion-based controls. It’s hard not to think about driving games when considering what someone could do with this level of control. When I was offered the opportunity to take Drift Mania Championship 2 for Android on a test drive, I was thrilled.
I played it on my Galaxy Nexus and Sony Tablet S in order to get a good idea of just how well this game plays on both a phone and tablet.
In this article, I’ll touch on some of the highlights (and lowlights) that I stumbled across while trying the game out for myself.
Drift Mania Championship 2 is a beautiful game. Even on the small screen of a smartphone, graphics are smooth and pleasing to the eye. There isn’t a lot of gloss or any reflections throughout the courses. I assume this is an attempt to reduce the stress that this graphically intense game would place on older Android phones.
On the Sony Tablet S, Drift Mania Championship 2 plays like a dream. You’d never guess that the graphics were scaled up from the smartphone version because it looks great. Pixelation is hardly noticeable, and there is no discernible lag during single-player gameplay.
Drift Mania Championship 2 can be played in career mode as a single player game, but its real strength comes when you enter multiplayer mode. Competing with local and Internet players is a lot of fun, though I did hit some occasional lag patches while playing over the Internet. It was also very difficult to get into a match in multiplayer mode. Either there aren’t enough servers out there, or connection requirements are extremely high.
Steering is controlled by the accelerometer and you’re given two thumb controls on either side of the landscape screen. The left side has a little virtual e-brake, which is used to achieve that perfect drift into a sharp corner. The right side has a slider that you use to control acceleration. This made life a little difficult for me as I had a hard time moving my finger up and down the screen on my tablet. It’s easy to forget you’re controlling steering, speed, and your brake with three different movements of your hand.
Not only that, but steering was very difficult. Tilt the device only a slight bit too far and you’ll find yourself in the wall faster than you can say “Go Speed Racer, go!”
Likewise, adjusting your device in your hand while playing could lose you the race, so make sure you’re comfortable before the green light.
Want to upgrade your car without winning a lot of races first? You’ll need to buy game currency using an in-game purchase. I realize why this is done, but if you’re already spending money on the game, you shouldn’t enable someone to have an advantage simply because they have more disposable income for virtual goods.
I appreciate the practice mode, and found it to be an absolute must at first. Controls are touchy in this game, and it takes some time to get used to how steering works. It’s a drifting game, so don’t expect to take tight corners without sliding.
This isn’t a game for everyone. If you just want to run some casual races and enjoy hugging tight corners, this might not be for you. The Drift Mania series is all about drifting, and that means drifting on virtually every single corner you come across. I hit almost every wall the first few times I played because I tried to avoid drifting.
If you love drifting and enjoy gaming on a smartphone or tablet, then this could be $2 well spent. Drift Mania Championship 2 was a beautiful game that just didn’t hit a home run with me. That’s not to say it wouldn’t with you.