Blind Drive possesses an immediately appealing concept for anyone who enjoys something a bit different. It tasks you with weaving in and out of oncoming traffic, using sound cues to determine which direction to frantically spin the wheel of your car to avoid a lethal collision. From that description, you'd reasonably assume that it's an audio-focused endless runner, but Blind Drive is actually a story-driven game, for better and worse.
What's the story of Blind Drive?Blind Drive kicks off with our hero Donnie finding himself blindfolded and chained to a steering wheel. Though this sounds like something ripped straight from Saw, Donnie is actually a willing participant who has been led to believe he's part of some bizarre scientific experiment, though I have no idea what he thinks they're researching. A modulated voice over the phone tells him to drive and avoid oncoming traffic if he wishes to survive.
It starts fairly silly and only gets increasingly absurd before it reaches its conclusion 27 levels later. Of course, I won't spoil anything here, but your mileage with Blind Drive's narrative will largely depend on your level of tolerance for B movie-inspired zaniness. Regardless, it mostly exists to justify the surprisingly varied approaches to gameplay.
It begins in a fairly straightforward manner. You'll be hurtling towards oncoming traffic, and when you hear a vehicle approaching from the left, you'll want to tap the right-hand side of the screen and vice versa for cars coming from the opposite direction. As such, Blind Drive is best played with headphones, wired specifically, since there are some delay issues with Bluetooth headphones.
How is Blind Drive's audio-driven gameplay?For the most part, it works pretty well, though there are a few timing issues. Occasionally, you'll manage to swerve away from danger at the last moment successfully, whilst other times this will lose one of your three lives, despite seemingly no difference between the two attempts. It can feel a tad unfair, though it's not a persistent problem throughout.
Instead, there's more often a genuine feeling of exhilaration as you heroically weave in and out of traffic, which is amplified tenfold by the aural design as you hear a car whoosh past your ear. On the flip side, whenever you do crash into an onrushing vehicle, the crunch of metal and haptic feedback will make you recoil in your seat a tad.
The effectiveness of this would undoubtedly become lost if that's all the game had to offer but fortunately, Blind Drive makes an admirable attempt to keep things interesting. As the bizarre narrative wears on, there are slight variations to the usual dodging formula to try and keep you on your toes.
This ranges from simply increasing the speed of the car, demanding faster reactions to prevent your bonnet from becoming one with another vehicle, to a fly buzzing around each ear intermittently to distract you from listening intently to the traffic. There's even a boss of sorts to contend with where you'll have to avoid incoming bullets.
Dodge your way through 27 chaptersTo really try and confuse you, there will be certain noises that you're supposed to drive towards like the ring of a bicycle bell, which earns you one life back. In isolation that's not too difficult but when you throw in other elements it can become surprisingly tricky and undeniably helps Blind Drive stay interesting for far longer than it would have otherwise.
And ultimately, it's a game you can play entirely without looking down at your phone, which is pretty awesome. Since the only controls are tapping on either side of the screen, the audio is all you need. Even the number of lives you have left is communicated to you by that chime you hear when you forget to put your seatbelt on, which is a cute detail.
Despite this, the game's UI is very sleek and, somewhat ironically, worth watching, even though there's no need. Whenever your speed greatly increases, the typical blurring effects are applied to give that sense of going faster. Elsewhere, there are some trippy rainbow coloured effects whenever you smash into an ice cream van – which restores life and affords you an additional mistake. It's very stylishly presented.
Whether you decide to fully immerse yourself into the whole blindfold scenario or stare at your screen whilst you play, there's plenty of fun to be had with Blind Drive. It absolutely stands out in the mobile realm as something a little bit different, even if the story isn't going to be universally loved.