GENSOU Skydrift – Review
Follow Genre: Arcade, Racing
Developer: illuCalab
Publisher: Phoenixx Inc.
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch
Tested on: PS5

GENSOU Skydrift – Review

Site Score
5.0
Good: Concept
Bad: Controls, Graphics, Feels unfinished
User Score
2.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 2.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Sometimes we complain that the gaming industry does not come up with new and exciting ideas anymore. We often have to direct our gaze towards smaller indie projects to see something new and uncommon. That being said, sometimes gazing further than the normal triple-A titles also presents us with games that do raise an eyebrow or two. When taking a closer look at GENSOU Skydrift, girl-on-girl action becomes a bit too literal. This game has pairs of young girls race against one another but instead of using a car or a broomstick, one girl flies while the other one stands on top of her. They can also switch their formation at the press of a button, creating a very odd Mario Kart: Double Dash format with the constant possibility of looking up some skirts. Strange? Yes, very.

Story

GENSOU Skydrift has a very simple plot embedded in its campaign mode, which is in itself quite pleasing. Don’t expect much, however, as you get a lot of text for something that holds no actual content. You notice that your spirit energy is running low and when you see someone race off in the distance, trying to get away, you connect the dots. That’s it. There are some useless dialogues that soon follow suit, but it’s all just a frame to justify you playing through all the game’s courses in a single-player format. The presentation of the story is also found very lacking.

Graphics

Graphically the game is not much to look at. Sure, the girls have adorable character models, but they stand out like a sore thumb when actually racing. The tracks look as if they were directly ported from a PS1 or N64 game, rather than a PC title that has been out since 2019. The overall tracks are a bit bland and boring, especially because there’s nothing really going on in the background.

The static designs during conversations have a certain charm, but you’ll always see the same picture(s) over and over again, with no animations whatsoever. It feels like the developers threw together a mix of different styles into one game, hoping they’d fit together.

Sound

The soundtrack might actually be the best thing the game has to offer. You’ll be treated to very upbeat music, and even though it loops very quickly, it doesn’t get annoying actually. This means that you have achieved something if you have created catchy music that remains entertaining for a longer period of time. The sound effects, however, are very bland and uninspired and end up being ‘just functional’ for what is happening in the game. There is no voice acting present, which is a shame, as the game actually includes a campaign mode with a lot of dialogue.

Gameplay

GENSOU Skydrift is a fairly strange racing game that has a lot in common with Mario Kart. You simply have to gain speed, use basic drifting mechanics and have items to fire at your opponents. The odd part is that you pick two characters to play with that you can swap at any given time during a race. One serves as the person flying (literally) and the other will stand on top of the flying person. Upon swapping, you just reverse the formation. Each character has different stats, such as max speed, the ability to drift, etc. This means that you can pick two totally different characters, and have one speed through the straight pieces, while another handles drifting around the corners.

While the overall concept of the game is quite nice, it soon becomes bland and stale as it feels like the goal does not have any intricacies to master. You have your tracks, you have your simplistic controls, skills (items) and small varieties in characters, and that’s about everything the game has. You’ll soon notice that tracks aren’t properly polished and actually have zones that will have you get stuck, and you can even glide through walls, causing bugs. As your drifting button is also the reverse button, sometimes you’ll just do that instead, making it clear that this wasn’t fully thought out.

The controls are straightforward in the game, as it only uses a handful of buttons. You can speed up, drift, swap characters and use your item(s). Each character can gain the ability to summon an item by passing through as many gates as possible on the track. You will need to swap characters to actually fill the gauge for your second character’s item. Sadly, the button layout is just horrible. Instead of just using the L and R buttons for speeding up and drifting, you use the X button to drift and either the square or circle buttons to speed up. Due to this, it is very tiring and even painful to use your drift whenever you want to use it. It’s not a good sign if a game’s button layout actually physically hurts you.

Conclusion

GENSOU Skydrift is amusing for a few rounds, but not for its full price. It’s an entertaining and original piece of work, that with some polishing could actually be quite a big hit in the arcade racing landscape. Sadly, as it currently stands, GENSOU Skydrift has clunky controls, awkward mechanics, simplistic graphics, a half-assed story and just feels a bit light for its asking price. Don’t get us wrong, we had fun with the game, but we expected a lot more of it.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 2.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
GENSOU Skydrift - Review, 2.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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