Broken menus (in Spaaaaaace) – Drifter
If we were to try sell you a screen and some buttons for the price of a TV and telling you that you’d get the TV when we’re done building it you’d laugh in our faces. The same would go for almost anything else we tried to sell you. Why is it that games no longer seem to follow this logic? Early access is a plague rapidly spreading it’s way throughout gaming. We remember the days when you could skim through steam and be guaranteed that almost any game you clicked on would be decent and worth the price. Now it’s getting harder to find one that’s even finished! This is starting to seem normal but tell someone who isn’t into gaming about this and they will laugh. Drifter is one such game.
Drifter is an early access space exploration/trading game. The controls are simple enough. You can fly around, use boosters, go through a slipstream which is like warp speed and shoot. This is where our first issue cropped up. You can only fly on one axis which seems to defeat the purpose of a space exploration game. Yes, it makes things simpler and easy to navigate but isn’t one of the most appealing things about space the freedom to go where you please? This could maybe be forgiven though, while it does crush our dreams of being a proper space explorer, it may make the gameplay a lot more streamlined. The interface though, that’s another story.
This is where the game’s unfinished state becomes apparent. There is no text description on any of the buttons and the majority of them don’t even have icons. The interface is akin to a labyrinth, a bare, grey, terribly set out labyrinth where you can’t turn back from some of the dead ends. There were times when we had to just close the game down and start again to exit particular menus. This unfortunately made the game pretty much unplayable for us. We did find the missions section once and it looked pretty good but when we accepted one we could find no indication or where to go and the game had tested our patience enough by that point.
It’s not all bad though, The galaxy you are in is massive and procedurally generated so each experience will differ and there will always be somewhere to explore. The game also looks great with visuals that are pretty but also portray the vast, emptiness of space. The faraway camera point gives the experience a distinct gamey feel to it which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what kind of experience you are looking for. The soundtrack is also well fitting. The music adds well to the atmosphere and sounds suitably spacey.
All in all we’d say that Drifter does have great potential and will probably be quite fun when it is ready but as of now it is not ready. The empty interface makes it unplayable and there are plenty of games where you can fly aimlessly about in space. Once It’s finished then we’d probably recommend it to anyone who is in to the idea of a space exploration or trading game but we’d urge you to wait until such a time.
Drifter is available now on Steam.