Drifting Lands (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 07.06.2017

Review for Drifting Lands on PC

Drifting Lands is a shmup-style game with a heavy emphasis on RPG/loot elements. Developed and produced by Alkemi, it is best described as Diablo in a jet fighter. The core game revolves around dodging endless projectiles while gaining randomised loot to equip onto the ship. The mix of the genres is quite strange and might not make immediate sense, but is pulled off successfully.

Drifting Lands heads into the fairly formulaic shoot 'em up genre and pulls out something rather novel. Described even by the makers as a "Diablo-like," the game first and foremost is about equipment. To explain, it is like most shooters in that the player pilots a small horizontal jet as they dodge bullets and kill waves of enemies. The difference is damage, health, armour - everything - is based on the randomised gear acquired on levels.

The story takes place after the Earth has been blown up and various groups hang around the 'drifting lands' of Earth. There is an evil government, rebels, and all the typical parts of a story about people trying to escape an oppressive government. Compared to most in this genre, there is actually a story here of some interest, but those RPG players looking for an expansive canon will be disappointed.

The real core of the game is the actual flying and looting. The gameplay is largely standard as far as dodging, shooting and all of that is concerned. The crispness of the movement actually feels better than average, which is notable while playing. Unlike others, it is not a one hit kill; rather, the ships take quite a bit of pounding on the levels. There are various skills (again in RPG fashion) that are equipped before battle, such as a heal, a defensive fire ring, a teleport, and so on. This way, the hits don't feel cheap, as they come often enough, and there are large margins of error built into the stats.

Screenshot for Drifting Lands on PC

After battle, there are various items that are looted. They range in quality from trash to rare, even including crafting recipes, which is pretty mind-blowing for a shmup. There are armour slots, weapon, engine, and core - depending on the ships, there are somewhere around 10 total slots. Each piece of equipment often has upwards of six to ten stats on it. While incredibly deep, it can at times be overwhelming as to whether a +1.5% fire speed is better than a +4% critical rate, and so on.

A few of the minors gripes is that the core game is largely repetitive after a while. The same patterns, the same enemies, the same levels start to grind a little, and unfortunately chip away at what is otherwise an amazing game. The story never particularly goes anywhere, and the skills - despite there being a lot of them - leave the feeling of wanting more, perhaps some way of levelling them up, rather than being easily acquired and static for the rest of the game.

Grinding for gear is fun, and that is the major draw. The graphics are not great, but good, and the music is suitably intense. Such a heavy RPG infusion into the genre, while not the first of its kind (which arguably might go to a free game called RPG Shooter Starwish), is so novel and pulled off successfully that fans of both shmups and RPGs will likely be amused.

Screenshot for Drifting Lands on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Drifting Lands is rare as a game these days in that it is actually fun and the hours slip by while grinding for better gear. Yes, considering this is a shoot 'em up, the gear aspect is the best part of it. While there are some repetitive issues that start to show themselves hours into the game, the entire package is so coherent as to be recommended. Fans of either shmups or RPGs will find a lot to their liking here, and the rare fan of both is highly encouraged to check it out.

Developer

Alkemi

Publisher

Alkemi

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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