Drift Street International Hands-On

We get up to ridiculous speeds in our first hands-on with this DSiWare racing exclusive.

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Aussie dev studio Tantalus may have found the most success so far with its Pony Friends game, but it's focusing on horsepower of a different kind with its latest title, the DSiWare-exclusive Drift Street International. As its name implies, the game is an arcade racer with a heavy emphasis on drifting, and it left us with a positive Ridge Racer vibe during our first hands-on at GDC 2010.

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Drift Street International will let you race on 12 tracks set in the US, the UK, and Japan and will feature six different cars (which you'll have to unlock as the game progresses). When in single-player, you'll be racing against three other AI opponents on mostly curvy tracks, perfect for drifting around at high speeds. The controls are simple: the DSi's A button is for accelerating, while tapping B as you approach a corner will initiate a drift that you can control. Successful drifts (that is, not crashing into walls or barriers while drifting) will slowly build up a nitro meter, which can be unleashed by pressing the X button should you need a quick burst of speed.

We played the game’s single-player mode, which featured a stock-standard race, a checkpoint challenge, and speed trials. The speed trial proved to be the most challenging, as the game tasks you with maintaining a set speed at all times. Fail to keep your vehicle at that speed, and you’ll fail the mode. The game also supports four-person multiplayer via Wi-Fi, but we were unable to try out this feature.

For a DSIWare title, Drift Street International is looking quite good. Tracks and cars sport some good detail, and the frame rate didn't stutter during races. For fans of the Ridge Racer style of arcade drift, this game will be instantly familiar and accessible. Drift Street International will be released next week and will retail for 800 Nintendo points.

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