Drift City is a massively multiplayer racing game with a
fabulous Korean comics (“manhwa”) coat of paint. Instantly
recognizable to those that played the classic Sega arcade and home
console game Crazy Taxi, the object of Drift City is to run
missions for the government and private delivery services in order
to protect the populace from menacing unmanned vehicles that roam
the city. All of this story serves as an excuse to race around the
city at breakneck speed.
Drift City is a large standalone app, as well as a browser
plug-in for Firefox or Internet Explorer. The “FX Launcher” browser
plug-in installation ran fine and installed correctly on Firefox
3.0.8. The game must be launched from the Web site; annoyingly,
launching the game from a desktop icon fires up Internet Explorer,
regardless of your default browser.
The name Drift City comes from the ability to hold down Shift
and slide, or drift, your car. This sliding technique lets you take
corners very quickly, and is an exaggeration of real-life drifting
(as seen in movies such as The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo
Drift). The game rewards risks like this by filling up your
boost meter more quickly, and a tap of the Control key activates
this boost, sending your car into super speed.
The game controls very well with a keyboard, though a USB
steering wheel controller would be a good investment for serious
drifters. The graphics for the menu screens and interface are
bright and colorful, but the actual in-game graphics leave
something to be desired. At fault here is the game’s tendency to
pop in graphics, or draw in game elements too close to the
foreground. At the speed you’re driving, that means sometimes
obstacles don’t appear on the horizon until you’re almost on top of
them. In a few instances, cars in the distance appeared, then
disappeared, then appeared just in time to crash into them. There
seems to be no way at all to adjust graphics or any other game
settings, so you’re stuck with default video quality.
Despite this being a massively multiplayer game, there really
aren’t groups or raids to speak of. Missions are solo, and there
are player vs. player racing arenas scattered around the city.
Other than the pop-up issues, the game is a lot of fun.
Level-ups are frequent, and it doesn’t take long before you’re
behind the wheel of a new and different car, all of which handle
differently. Like all of NHN USA’s online games, Drift City is
free, so fire it up and drift away.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site, where you
can download the latest version of the software. Although the game
is completely free, there’s a publisher-wide currency called G Coin
that is purchasable with a credit card. This G Coin can be used to
buy your way into in-game upgrades that would normally take some
time to earn.