Outdrive – An album disguised as a “game”

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Outrun and other arcade racing games where you race to the horizon have unfortunately never been part of my younger gamer life. After all, the PlayStation 2 was already close to release when I could first hold a controller and beat a game. Still, there’s something about this particular style of games that speaks to me. Given that I’m not really much of a modern gamer, I always take my time to find out about retro games or indie games in a particular style that interests me, which eventually bought me to Outdrive. Driving through an 80s neon art style with music also reminiscent of that same era? Sign me and the rest of the “I was not born in the 80s but still want to experience it” crew up! So today, let’s take a look at Outdrive!

The intro has a pretty interesting setup: your girlfriend is shot and bleeding to death, but if you attach her wound to the car and keep driving, she’ll survive! I have no idea how that works but whatever, I’ve seen cars do a lot of weird stuff already. It’s a good motivation to keep driving! …But since this is an endless runner, here’s a spoiler: she’ll die since there is no end to this game. The motivation is now immediately ruined.

She already died when I was 6 seconds into the game by the way. Apparently just driving isn’t enough, as you also need to boost to be above a certain speed threshold–but don’t go too fast either otherwise she’ll die. So the gameplay is just driving and occasionally boosting/slowing down and… that’s it. I’m not underselling it either: this is all you do.

Outdrive Low Speed

The car handles very poorly. Even the slightest bump on the joystick will make the car slip immediately. I guess it’s not too big of an issue though, since the roads have literally nothing to offer. There’s a turn occasionally where you have to ”drift”, but even that is not really necessary as you can’t go off-road anyway–or at least, you’re not supposed to be able to. Your car can take as much damage as it wants to and since there are no obstacles or other cars on the road, the driving is an absolute joke. Oh, and the road you are driving on? It loops constantly every 10 minutes, so enjoy seeing the same road and environments over and over again.

I guess there is one obstacle though? There’s an attack helicopter that appears every now and then that attacks you which, as stated before, doesn’t do anything since your car won’t be destroyed. It has one attack that bumps you up in the air and spins you around though. Spoiler alert, this is a bug so you may as well just turn the helicopter off in the settings. The one obstacle the game has breaks the game, beautiful.

Speaking of bugs: what’s the worst thing that can happen in an endless runner? Your run being ended by something out of your control of course! I’ve stated before that you’re not supposed to be able to go off-road, but it can happen, and due to it, I was driving on an invisible ceiling far removed from the road. Oh, and my run ended by a black screen where I literally wasn’t able to do anything. Brilliant, one hour down the drain because the game stopped functioning.

Outdrive Neon Background

It wouldn’t even be so bad if there were optional modes, cars, or whatever. Or what about pausing a run so you can return to it later? But nope, this boring endless driver that repeats itself after 10 minutes is the only part of the game. What I will say is that the music and 80s neon art style are good and for some people, it’s enough to just drive around, relax and listen to music. That person is not me. And it’s not like the music actually affects the game itself which would have been a… slightly redeemable feature?

“Gaming experiment in genre of music runner – not a game, aesthetic concept.” is the tagline of this game, and the bad English probably already gives you an impression of what you’re getting yourself into. The developer can call it an experiment but surprise surprise, it’s still a game–and as a game, it’s not good. Frankly, it’s not much better as an experiment either. The driving is awful with extremely poor handling, though that’s probably not even an issue since you can’t go off-track anyway and there are literally no obstacles standing in your way. The road keeps looping after a few minutes with no changes whatsoever, and the only obstacle is an attack helicopter that shoots you to no effect since your car is invulnerable. It can be very buggy however, and that’s probably the worst offense to this endless runner: your run can end due to bugs and glitches you don’t have control over. The music and neon art style are both good but as a game? This is really, really bad.

2.0

Nepiki's Rating

Overall rating

Game Score
2.0
Fun Score
2.0
Positives
  • The music and 80s art style are good.
Negatives
  • Driving handles very poorly.
  • This endless runner loops after 10 minutes.
  • Bugs that can easily end your run.

Thank you for reading! It’s been a while since I’ve made an actual negative review because honestly, I don’t like making these too much. Behind this game, there’s a person who was probably very passionate about this game. However, I saw that this game has gotten a serious amount of positive reviews on Steam and felt like it was my duty to step in. After all, I bought this game because it looked cool and the reviews looked good as well. I can’t undo the past and frankly, I’m happy for this developer, but maybe I can change the future? Sounds cool I guess.

Next week I’m going to start a very small marathon! People who have been following me on Twitter on Twitch know what is coming up but yes, next week (and maybe the week after as well), I’m taking a look at the Gameboy Colour Bomberman games!

What is the most ”180” motivation a game has ever given you to play? As in, a game that gives you a motive even though you know that it will never happen in the end.

I unfortunately couldn’t come up with an answer straight away, so I’ll just keep it at Outdrive.

About author

Nepiki

A gamer and writer at heart who wants to combine his hobbies into one. I am 25 years old and I'm from the Netherlands. Having played many games over the years, I wanted to express my love for them, however obscure they may be!

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AK

Rough. I like the weird neon look of the game, but it does sound like there’s no motivation there. The natural thing would be “drive her to the hospital before she dies”, but indeed what’s the point if there is no hospital and she’s going to die anyway. That’s not even mentioning that it sounds like they stole the idea from the most tired 80s revenge action movies.

I wouldn’t feel too bad about a negative review as long as it’s fair, but I get what you’re saying. I don’t love writing negative reviews either.

AK

Yeah, that would be very underhanded. Really, if you want to use a game made without much effort to promote your new album, the game should be free.

[…] by a review of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past as a birthday special. A mini-review of Outdrive followed which I hadn’t actually planned, but seeing how this game got so many positive […]