Game Reviews

Tail Drift

Star onStar onStar onStar onStar off
| Tail Drift
Tail Drift
| Tail Drift

With frantic races involving cute little vehicles zooming around larger-than-life circuits, utilising boost pads and weapon pick-ups, there's more than a hint of Mario Kart about Tail Drift.

However, it also brings to mind a pair of iOS games that perhaps provide a better indication of how it plays.

Tracks comprise dizzying rollercoaster-like tubes in the sky that you hover over and spin round, bringing to mind Unpossible, only with mercy and bright colours replacing brutality and neon.

Elsewhere, the controls are stripped right back, with you urging your plane left or right (via tap or tilt) at opportune moments, in a manner similar to Frisbee Forever, albeit without everything being so rigidly on rails.

Flying ace

Tail Drift's fairly basic nature isn't reductive, though. While you won't get the same degree of control present in a Mario Kart title, most people usually have their thumbs permanently pressed down on the “GO FASTER, DAMMIT!” button anyway.

And simplifying controls on mobile makes sense, given that you're pawing at glass.

Fortunately, the tracks are rather more complex, akin to a Nintendo take on a monster rollercoaster that might give you vertigo just by looking at it.

Aesthetically Tail Drift is often blue skies and green fields, but there's rarely anything so sedate about the action. Especially when you're pelting along a lurching track, flying upside down to avoiding a rock face by a whisker.

When partaking in 'classic race' events, Tail Drift affords the kind of intoxicating giddiness that afflicts anyone playing the best arcade racers. The AI is challenging but fair, and your best aid becomes your memory, logging the position of boost pads and weapons, to use to your advantage during the next lap.

And given the nature of the tube-like tracks, your best means of overtaking a rival might be on the other side of the tube, out of sight - a clear differentiator from most other racers.

Engine failure

Tail Drift only stalls a couple of times. There's a whopper of a difficulty spike in the first race of the second set of events, which seems badly balanced, even if you've upgraded your plane sufficiently with coins won by doing well in previous events.

There's also no means of skipping it, because events unlock in a broadly linear fashion, bar the odd branching path.

Elsewhere, 'time extension' events can frustrate further. They require you to position yourself very precisely, in order to fly through smallish green 'pie' slices of regularly placed barriers.

It's one thing when similar demands are made of you in more traditional racers, but another when you're spinning around a track and frequently get barely any notice before chancing upon said barriers.

Still, Tail Drift's failings are few, and for the most part, this is a fun, straightforward and very pretty racer that feels perfectly suited to smartphones.

Here's hoping the developer uses it as a platform to reach greater heights, adding more events and keeping the grind to a minimum.

Tail Drift

A good-looking and playable racer, which with enough investment from the developers could conceivably become one of the best on the platform
Craig Grannell
Craig Grannell
Craig gets all confused with modern games systems with a million buttons, hence preferring the glass-surfaced delights of mobile devices. He spends much of his time swiping and tilting (sometimes actually with a device), and also mulling why no-one’s converted Cannon Fodder to iPad.