Prep for a clean burn, oil up the propellers, select your air-to-air armament, and brush off airy metaphors ’cause it’s time for SkyDrift Infinity. Developer THQ Nordic, along with publisher HandyGames, present a bit of airborne mayhem with SkyDrift Infinity‘s combination of aerial combat and fast-paced racing. Whether alone, with friends, or a handful of international opponents you may skirt rocky cliffs, bursting lava, or gentle waves as you zoom and blast your way to victory.
SkyDrift Infinity is an aerial racing game that may be played solo or up to seven other players. Races take place in a 1 to 8 ranking with different powerups clustered around each track. They may be used to shield the player, blast an opponent, or create other destructive hindrances for the opposition. There is a boost option which may be refilled by taking dangerous paths, flying in the drift of other players, or by cashing out powerups to refill bits of the meter. There are also arena battling modes with smaller courses and more emphasis on getting items to blast the other players.
Straight ahead – SkyDrift Infinity is the most fun I’ve had on my Switch in a darn long time. There have been experiences which are deeper, or I’ve been more emotionally invested in, but few have my body banking alongside my onscreen avatar like this does. This is a budget title that doesn’t waste a single second of its gameplay, letting me hop right in without confusion and with an abundance of excitement.
Going back, I’ve been disappointed at the lack of aerial racing games, and can only think of Diddy Kong Racing as a standout (which, even then, is only a percentage of the game). Part of the problem is in designing aircraft which are satisfactory to play with while being different enough from one another that races don’t devolve to whoever gets the powerups first. SkyDrift Infinity strikes this rough balancing act excellently, and no matter your play style you’ll find an aircraft which meets your taste.
Each plane is rated on different attributes like acceleration, top speed, durability, and so on. While rated on a 1 to 5 scale, there’s an amusing flaming skull rating that places it one grade higher than 5. I quickly found out how appropriate the flaming skull is as I got used to the triplane, which has a flaming skull rating in its turbo boost, and becomes a barely controlled fireball of demonic speed when active. Kudos to those who want more control, but I prefer white knuckling the edges of the track while laughing maniacally as my flimsy frame overtakes the bulkier brutes.
The various racing tracks also pull off the tricky balance of making each plane a viable winner. My beloved triplane had me constantly looking for safe stretches to activate the turbo, whereas the bulkier craft could set traps carefully. SkyDrift Infinity encourages taking risks on these tracks with its lenient respawn time. Barely two seconds pass between when I was blown up, or misjudged a turn and ate the cliff, and getting back to the race. Since my boost options also increased with risky flying, like cutting corners extremely close or racing just a few feet above the ground, it means that I never felt overly punished for taking risks.
I primarily played this undocked on the Switch itself and it is a gorgeous time. The environments aren’t so busy that I’d lose track of my path, nor are they simple bland copy / pasted affairs. I went from zooming through lava waves to picking my boost moments in the skeleton of a giant ship. Tracks are reused with different challenges, but those challenges focus on different aspects of the environments to a degree that it becomes a fresh jaunt. I’m also impressed that similar titles have stuttered or lagged with locations and gameplay that SkyDrift Infinity has, but I felt no such issues and my speed proceeded with little limitation.
How well all this translates into multiplayer I can’t honestly say. I’ve been the sole person in the lobby for a long time each online attempt, and due to the ongoing pandemic I was unable to play this with split-screen multiplayer. The single player experience has been satisfying enough to keep me coming back every night, but those looking for multiplayer will likely need to find friends instead of relying on the lobby.
SkyDrift Infinity was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch using a code provided by the publisher.
I wish I could share my enjoyment of SkyDrift Infinity with more people. Until that time comes, I'm going to keep my racing stripes fresh with a few tracks every night. This is the kind of fun I've been missing, and I'm going to embrace this skybound delight as long as I can.
- Engaging track and plane variety ensures no single playstyle will dominate over the rest.
- Risky flying and recyclable powerups reward those wanting to think outside the typical racer formula.
- Gorgeous lag-free handheld play.
- Mostly empty multiplayer modes.