KartRider series by Nexon has been around for a while since the first game was released in 2004. Its latest version, KartRider: Drift, is expected to be out soon with its 3rd closed beta just being over. We manage to squeeze into the closed beta thanks to Nexon and here are my thoughts on how the closed beta went.
First of all, the game looks nice from its clean menu UI, character and car models and tracks. It does have a cartoonish feel to it but it is alright since it works great in a kart game. You are given some preset characters which you can select as your drivers each with its own costume library to let players customize.
KartRider: Drift may look like your average kart racing game like Crash Team Racing or Mario Kart, but those who had a try will think different. The game takes kart racing to another level with the need for a fast reflex and reaction but before I get into that let’s talk about the game modes.
Once you get into the game, you are given a light tutorial about the basics of the games. There are only a few controls so most players will just get the hang of it. For those who want to dive deeper into the game’s mechanics, there is a License Mode that presents itself as a tutorial/challenge type of game.
Next, there is a normal Item Mode where you can play in either solo, duo or in teams of 4 and race in a chaos filled environment with power-up items swinging the race results up and down. But once you get your intermediate license from the License Mode, you are given access to the Speed Mode which basically strips all the items away and race solely on skills which will really show who is the best kart racer in the game. There are also custom game modes you can create to play with your friends anytime easily.
The game does come with a lot of tools to help new players like driving line indicator, boost indicator which I believe that not only benefit new players but experienced players in the game. The boost indicator especially is important to show you the less than a 1-second window you have to get a free boost after your drift or do a recovery boost after you are disabled by an item. Mastering these small window boost timings can mean a lot in the game especially if you are playing on Speed Mode with no items to help you.
The game and I am happy to report, has no pay to win elements in the closed beta. There are a ton of customization for your kart and your avatar in the game which you can unlock but some will require payment or a season pass. Certain things were locked in the closed beta like the kart proficiency and livery option so we are not sure what that does.
Another great about the beta was the cross-play function which was smooth. You will be automatically pitted against other platform players and their platform will be indicated on the loading menu. Being a racing game, I doubt there are any advantages between platforms so this is an excellent implementation by the game.
KartRider: Drift manages a pull off, I would say, an excellent closed beta with not many bugs and crashes during gameplay. The only downside is certain players that disconnected before the game starts, which really makes team races a blowout since you know you are going to lose even before the start of the race. I would encourage everyone to try out KarRider: Drift when it launches in early 2022 as it has all the elements to please casual players and those looking for a challenge alike plus it is the only free-to-play cross-platform kart racing game coming out soon.