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- KartRider: Drift
KartRider: Drift is a free-to-play kart racer that gives you skill-based gameplay in an easy, pick-up-and-play format. The kart racing genre is immensely popular, but there’s surprisingly little to choose from, especially if you’re looking for online multiplayer. KartRider: Drift changes that with an emphasis placed on cross-platform play between PC and Xbox One players and a UI that focuses on getting you in the game and playing as quickly as possible.
The KartRider lineage
If you’re a player who lives in the US, KartRider may be an unfamiliar franchise. However, this Nexon published title is a household name in other parts of the world. The first game in the series, Crazyracing KartRider, was released in 2004, and since then, it’s grown to become one of the top 10 PC Games in South Korea, with half of the population having accounts at one point or another. It’s also the number one casual online game in Taiwan and is one of the top 10 highest-grossing mobile games in China, with over 360 million accounts created in that region alone.
Now, Nexon is bringing KartRider to the rest of the world, but the game does things a little differently than most free-to-play games. You won’t be buying boosters, gems, or any of those typical free-to-play trappings. Instead, KartRider: Drift uses a season pass system, which is familiar to most gamers. If you opt to purchase the season pass, you’ll have the opportunity to unlock cosmetics by racing. These cosmetics will be unlocked on both PC and Xbox, so you can feel free to switch platforms at will without losing any of your hard-earned content.
Instead of being relegated to a walled garden with limited customization and gameplay options, KartRider: Drift looks to take the kart racing genre to the next level. This game won’t just be a one-and-done release as it opts for a games-as-a-service approach to content. That means whether you log in with your PC or Xbox, you’ll continue to have new and exciting events and gameplay features to look forward to.
Xbox and PC players unite
Xbox and PC fans will play KartRider: Drift on a level playing field, so you’ll need to bring your A-game if you want to top the leaderboards. This title may be free-to-play, but you don’t have to worry about paywalls or pay-to-win elements. No matter what platform you play on, microtransactions won’t give any in-game advantages. You won’t have to worry about a particular platform getting preferential treatment either. With cross-play being one of the key features of KartRider: Drift, both the PC and Xbox versions will receive updates at the same time.
Upon launch, KartRider: Drift will have three main modes. Item Mode plays out like a traditional kart racer. You compete in short races and can pick up items through pickups scattered throughout the track that allow you to buff your character or slow down the opposing racers. You’ll get a chance to use things like speed boosts, deploy UFOs to attack your foes, toss water bombs that cause massive splash damage, and more. This mode is intended to be friendly to beginning players, with less emphasis on skill and more arcade-like gameplay.
Speed Mode is a leaner experience that concentrates solely on skill-based racing. There are no items here, and players will have to rely on their racing acumen and familiarity with the tracks to win. This mode is where the challenge of KartRider: Drift lies. The only buff you can get is a nitrous boost, which you can charge by drifting. This means you need to have split-second precision and know the best times to drift, and when you should use your boost.
If you’re looking for a less-competitive session, there’s a Time-Attack Mode, which will help you learn the courses while challenging yourself to beat your best times.
Catch my Drift
One area KartRider: Drift differs from similar titles is its unique approach to team gameplay. Players can matchmake in Speed Mode or Item Mode solo, or they can form a squad of 2 or 4. When playing as a team, there’s less emphasis on coming in first, and racing becomes more competitive. You’ll be working to block the opposing team while helping your squad to move into better positions. The team-based gameplay will be a challenge to traditional racing fans, as taking first place doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to win.
KartRider: Drift looks to bring the kart racing genre to the next level. It’s incredibly beginner-friendly and approachable for fans of all ages, with the typical charm you can expect from this type of game. However, unlike any other kart racer, it goes beyond arcade gameplay, and Speed Mode rewards players who take the time to hone their skills. Cross-platform play between PC and Xbox One shows Nexon goes beyond the competition when it comes to bringing players together for a great time.
If you want to try KartRider: Drift on Xbox One or PC, enter your info below to receive a free key for the beta, which starts on June 3, 2020.