I first reviewed Absolute Drift way back in the before-times of 2015 (when I was deep in my lead-with-an-almighty-anecdote phase, apparently) after having met developer Dune of Funselektor demoing his game at a stall in Vancouver’s Chinatown. It’s clear that I loved the game (if fact, it was pretty much love at first sight, from the beginning), and this love only grew stronger as I played it for hours on PC, then on PS4.
You can imagine my glee, then, when I saw the Switch version was incoming.
Absolute Drift is the perfect game for dipping in and relaxing after a hard day, so I was curious as to whether the port would capture that again. Well, thanks to a copy provider by the publisher, I can tell you that I’ve been back in its gloriously minimalist settings for the last week, and it is somehow better than ever.
It’s not just the silky smooth frame rate, or the super responsive controls (the lack of either would have ruined this game). It’s clear that some refinement has happened, from the extra difficulty levels, the gentle nudges towards training, the extra leaderboards and single tracks, and so on. The result is a truly zen experience as you throw your car around tight objectives, leaving an arc of tyre tread behind you.
The biggest stumbling block to entry to getting to grips with, well, the lack of it. This is a game that is wants you to drift more than race, and learning the right curves can be frustrating at the beginning (the game knows that, and does its best to encourage you with frequent reminders that crashing is all part of the learning experience). However, once you get it – and unlock different cars, all with specific styles and drift sweet spots – there’s not much else out there that can give you the same narcotic thrill as sliding past a wall with only inches to spare.
It’s this thrill that’ll keep you going through the various open stages and single tracks, through all the crashes and failed attempts. Because when you hit that slide just right, all the other failures are erased. Combine all this with the portability of the Switch and you’ve got a serious distraction, and one that will give you thrills you won’t find anywhere else.
Now all I can do is cross my fingers for a port of Funselektor’s delicious follow-up, art of rally. Until then, though, do yourself a favour and get lost in this little slice of driving bliss.