Whenever picking up a kart racer it always brings back warm memories of sleepovers, Sugary sweets and my beloved N64. As so many others, growing up in the 90’s this console created some of my favourite gaming moments, in particularly the multiplayer. I have longed for another kart racing experience like this (apart from Crash Team Racing) and on some levels Bears Cant’s Drift delivers.
The moment the game loads it’s clear to see a lot of love has gone into the art work and presentation of the game. The beautiful presentation carries through to the 3 different worlds you visit; a forest world, ruin world and arctic world. Each world consists of 4 different circuits for you to compete on, a total of 12 circuits throughout the game. Although this doesn’t sound plentiful, each circuit has it’s own unique feel and secret shortcuts to uncover (you will need to find these to win the hard races).
To provide more depth to the game you have the option to compete in 1-of-3 modes on each circuit; race, picnic battle and time trial. The picnic battle offers a battle like arena where your bear must collect food, aiming to fill your self up before you opponents. Each time your bear devours a piece of food they increase in size, a nice animation which adds to the charm of the game.
The time trial events offered some really challenge to the game, often requiring you to uncover all shortcuts available to achieve gold. Unfortunately when completing in the time trial my position on the leaderboard and current lap time where only half visible in the top corner; in an event where a few seconds are the difference between 1st and 3rd I found it quite frustrating.
A kart racer wouldn’t be a kart racer without good old classic power-ups. Although the power-ups in the game have a unique skin and some nice animations, there really isn’t anything innovating; fish that fire as rockets, bee’s nests which acts as traps and owls that give you a speed boost. The animations when using a power-up or hitting an opponent smooth, I didn’t experience any frame rate issues.
As you would expect the power-ups play a key role within the multiplayer modes. Although I enjoyed playing through the single player content, when I had a group of friends over for some couch multiplayer I had a blast. With various modes to choose from and all circuits available in multiplayer there is enough variety for you to warrant some late night local multiplayer showdowns.
For all it’s pretty presentation and immense multiplayer fun the game does have it’s flaws. For a game call Bears Cant Drift I found the drifting very confusing, at times it would increase my speed and others it would hinder my speed. I appreciate the no tutorial approach, but due to the drifting inconsistency and not fully understanding the mechanic I often found myself not using it. There is also a huge jump in difficulty standards. The easy races I could have won with my eyes closed, the normal difficulties not much harder either, however, the hard races I found a welcomed challenge and required me to find each of the shortcuts to win the race.
All these flaws can make for a bit of a repetitive time in the early stages of the game (easy and medium difficulties) but another element I really like about Bears Cant Drift is the process of choosing your difficulty. For easy you simply drive in a strait line, normal requires a little more movement to navigate over a bridge but reaching hard… now theres a challenge. I can’t lie and say I reached it first time, or even fifth time, probably more like twentieth time. Although some players may find this frustrating I really enjoyed the task of reaching the most challenging difficulty.
Bear Cant Drift provides the player with some basic customisation, you can change the colour of your kart, there are several different bear skins for your driver and you can top your bear off with a hat. The hats provide an exploration element to the game, requiring you to find two hats per circuit to unlock them all – and trust me some are not easy to find.
On the whole I have enjoyed my time with Bears Cant Drift and will continue to enjoys it fun multiplayer modes when friends visit. Although there are some aspects of the game I have found tedious – early stages are very easy and drift mechanic feels useless at time – I have enjoys racing through the variety of pretty environments. Bears Cant Drift doesn’t quite reach the heights as some of my favourite kart racers but is’t too far off the pace.