Review – #Drive (Switch)

Let me begin this review by stating that despite the terrible name, #Drive is probably the best auto runner I have ever played in my life. This former mobile exclusive takes the simplest concept in the world, adds a ton of features without ever bloating the overall experience, and covers everything up with a ton of style and a rewarding gameplay loop, resulting in a very addictive experience.

#Drive Drifting

One step ahead of Absolute Drift.

In #Drive, you pick a car, a level, then proceed to do the obvious: drive until you either crash your car or fail to refill your tank, all while trying to beat your high score along the way. It’s a perfect match for an auto runner: you don’t need to accelerate, as the game does that automatically for you. You only need to care about steering, drifting and braking, and trying to avoid cars and other obstacles. You’ll also have to try to collect jerrycans to fill your gas meter, wrenches for repairing your car, and bottle caps to increase your points.

It sounds simple, and while that’s true, that doesn’t mean the game isn’t fun. #Drive constantly rewards you with various types of currency that let you unlock new cars, garage upgrades, and new levels. It actually takes some time before you’re able to afford even the cheapest (and crappiest) of cars, but once you start getting a hold of the game’s initially slippery controls, which are more of a consequence of the initial cars being crap, you’ll quickly get hooked on this rewarding progression system.

#Drive Photo Mode

#Drive even features a rudimentary but neat photo mode.

You can’t simply brake whenever you want, as braking activates a cooldown meter, so you’ll need to rely on your steering more than anything else. The first few levels feature easy pit stops for you to collect pickups, but later stages place jerrycans and wrenches on tighter and more annoying service stations. Considering that you get the same amount of points in whichever level you decide to visit, you can take your time honing your skills on earlier levels before deciding to tackle more complex ones. I do appreciate that despite being extremely challenging, #Drive also manages to be very lenient at the same time.

All cars are low-poly renditions of real life classics, just like in other retro throwback racers like Art of Rally and Horizon Chase Turbo. Besides some gearhead favorites like the Mini Cooper, the Toyota AE86, and the Jaguar XJ220, #Drive is filled with all kinds of pop culture-related rides. These the Reliant Robin and Peel P50 featured in the Top Gear show, the van from Breaking Bad, the DeLorean made famous from Back to the Future, and a Cadillac that strongly resembles the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters. You can also unlock a “cool” version of each car by paying an extra two thousand bottle caps, which makes them run slightly faster and earn more points per run.

#Drive protagonist

Dude, be quiet for just a minute.

#Drive‘s soundtrack is also a highlight. Each level features an infinitely looping, but well-composed tune that fits perfectly with its overall theme. The California tune is a blues track with a slight country twang, the Britain level sounds like a 60’s garage rock tune, and the Germany level sounds like something that Kraftwerk could have easily composed.

Sadly, the sound department is hampered by the game’s sole voice actor, the man driving your car. That man just doesn’t know when to shut up. If you pick up an item, he’ll spit out a one-liner and if you miss an item, he’ll say something as well. If you even decide to do absolutely nothing, he’ll still decide to say something. It was fun at first, but I eventually got bored of that voice that resembled a slightly more optimistic James Gandolfini.

#Drive desert

In the desert, you can’t remember your name.

I really like #Drive‘s minimalist art style, not only in its cars, but in its overall level design. Its courses are varied and pretty to look at, ranging from an old road in the California desert to a snowy landscape in Britain. You can even visit Mars later on. Even though this is a pretty stylish game, its visual department suffers from a few issues.

Being an auto runner, things become a bit repetitive after a while. If you’re hell-bent on breaking your previous record in any given level, you’ll look at the same kind of landscape for minutes on end. This is also hampered by the game’s limited lighting effects and very small draw distance. Finally, #Drive suffers from an uneven frame pacing, and weirdly enough, that’s more apparent when playing the game in docked mode. The game actually performs a lot better on portable mode, which baffles me.

Bottle caps are this game’s main currency. No, this is not set in the same universe as Fallout.

#Drive might suffer from a few technical issues, but its gameplay loop is on point. Its controls are a perfect mix between simplistic and complex. It’s slick, stylish, and full of content. It knows how to reward players with a slow-paced, yet very rewarding progression system. You’ll always be able to afford something new after a few runs. This is easily the best auto runner I have ever played and it’s an easy recommendation for Switch owners and car aficionados.


Graphics: 7.5

#Drive features a neat low-poly art style, but it’s hampered by limited lighting, repetitive backgrounds, and an uneven framerate pacing. It runs better on portable mode than on docked mode.

Gameplay: 8.0

#Drive is a lot more complex than your average auto-runner, and that’s a good thing. You will need some time to get used to its various features, occasional framerate hiccups, and the slippery steering of the initial cars available in your garage.

Sound: 8.0

While the soundtrack is actually excellent, the voice acting can get a bit annoying after a few minutes.

Fun Factor: 9.0

Despite its simplicity, #Drive succeeds at three very crucial things: an addictive gameplay loop, tons of content, and a rewarding progression system.

Final Verdict: 8.5

#Drive is available now on mobile and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of #Drive was provided by the publisher.