Absolute Drift, originally released in 2015 on PC by Funskeletor Labs, is a top-down racing game focused on drift racing. To bring the game to consoles, Funskeletor Labs collaborated with Flippfly to release Absolute Drift: Zen Edition on PlayStation 4 in Summer 2016. Roughly, one year after the PS4 release, the Xbox One is getting its own.
As the game launches, you are blindsided by the minimalism of the graphics, which for a genre prided on its realism, helps set the game apart. The main menu is basic with its options; free-roam, events, garage, settings, and credits. The part that makes this game “Zen Edition” is its hints of Japanese culture, with the intro cutscene with a Buddha-like statue talking to your character about the origins of drifting.
Going into free-roam, you are placed on a track that is inherently for beginners and as you complete each track, they gradually become more complicated with specific goals, with a total of six tracks. You earn score for how well you perform your drifts, a score multiplier for each consecutive successful drift, and can lose score based on crashes or running into objects. The events option feels more like a mini-game as you play normal tracks but in adverse conditions like drifting at night, with only your headlights to guide you.
At first, you have a tiny, dinky Toyota but as you complete levels you are given a wider arsenal of vehicles to choose from that have better handling, braking, etc., Garages are scattered throughout and driving into them will give you an option to switch. There is a small level of personality and customization with paint and decals for your car.
Graphic wise, as previously noted, Absolute Drift: Zen Edition, uses minimalism and is reminiscent of a game built for mobile. Following the “Zen” theme of the game, the overall color scheme of the game is white and red with some occasional other colors. As you drift, deep dark tire tracks follow you and help users gain a sense of how to balance their counter steering.
Personally, I do not play racing games but Absolute Drift: Zen Edition is a perfect balance of casual gaming and an arcade experience, not to compete with racing game juggernauts like Forza but to fill the void of casual racing options on console. The controls follow the console standard with the triggers on the controllers for acceleration and braking, they also felt smooth and quick to react, which is the most important part of a racing game.
Overall, Absolute Drift: Zen Edition can be very fun for both die-hard racing fans and the casual gamer. The concept and the graphics are a breath of fresh air to a genre dominated by AAA titles like Forza. The length of the game is decent with six worlds but offers some re-playability. Concerning the amount of time you will get out of this game, depending on how you play, the price is point is good.
Final Score: 8/10
Here is the Absolute Drift: Zen Edition Xbox One Trailer:
Absolute Drift: Zen Edition is available for PC, PS4, and on Xbox One on August 25, 2017.