Drift Mania 3The iPad is fast becoming a blooming garden of racing games. The Asphalt series is a huge hit. EA’s line of Real Racing games has pushed graphics to the limit. Need for Speed Most Wanted has won awards for its fast-paced gameplay mixed with console quality graphics.

Drift Mania: Street Outlaws is a racing game with fairly decent graphics, action packed racing, and an underground drift culture theme…

Design

The game features rich graphics, although not exactly on par with the likes of 2K Drive. But, don’t worry, you’ll still see shiny reflections in the car bodies and have to deal with realistic road conditions. The details are good enough to make you appreciate the technology.

Players can go solo or compete against real life and computer generated opponents in four different modes. Unlock new courses by earning achievements in Career mode, compete against a computer opponent in Battle mode, race against friends in Multiplayer mode, or hone your drifting skills in Practice mode.

Players can unlock and purchase a wide variety of cars, add different body kits to customize their look, upgrade to better wheels for drifting, get a darker window tint, and add a spoiler for additional flare.

You can spend your winnings to upgrade your car’s performance, drive train, and handling. Improve suspension, transmission, air intake, and much more. Each item must be unlocked before it can be upgraded. Unlock items by completing achievements during races.

The game comes complete with a soundtrack befitting of a drift culture. However, you can add your own tunes to your game by going to the settings section and changing the audio controls. I prefer DMX when I’m drifting. How about you?

Drift Mania 2Gameplay

Instead of racing for speed, players must earn points for drifting in style. Take corners at maximum speed and drift in special areas for additional points. Control your vehicle for an extended period of time to complete long drift achievements. The key to winning is drifting the furthest, not getting to the finish line the fastest.

To accelerate, drag your finger upward on the throttle on the right side of the screen. You won’t be reaching speeds above 90 very often, since you will be caught in hairpin turns throughout the entire course. Tilt your iOS device to turn. When you are positioned properly, pull the hand break to initiate the drift. With the right level of throttle play, along with proper breaking techniques and tight turn controls, you can cause your car to drift through practically the entire course.

Players earn extra points when drifting through designated zones. The bonus areas will be highlighted in blue. There are larger drift zones that offer even more points if you reach maximum speeds before initiating the drift. You’ll know when you’ve hit your max speed when your speedometer turns yellow.

In Campaign mode, courses require that you unlock achievements in order to progress. Each course has five achievements. Stay on track, don’t take any damage, finish the race in a certain amount of time, drift for an extended period of time, and earn a certain number of points for a single drift. Each new course has a more difficult achievement requirement.

When you complete a race, you will earn money that can be used to upgrade your vehicle. In the performance section, you can upgrade your air intake, exhaust, cooling, and engine up to four stages. In the drive train section, upgrade clutch, lubricants, transmission, and flywheel up to four stages. In the handling section, upgrade tires, suspension, handbrake, and weight reduction. Each upgrade must be unlocked before it can be purchased. You can unlock upgrades by winning medals in Campaign mode.

The car’s default steering is very sensitive. I was all over the road until I figured out how to fine-tune the car’s handling. Not only can you increase or decrease the wheel’s sensitivity, but you can also adjust the steering, gear ration, suspension, and weight distribution in the vehicle tuning section. Be sure to get all of your adjustments worked out before you hit the road to maximize your game controls.

In the Settings section when you pause your game, you can access the game’s main controls. Switch between a throttle bar or gas pedal accelerator, change the camera angle, use a virtual steering wheel instead of tilt controls, and adjust your turning sensitivity to minimum, low, medium, high, or maximum. You can also change your throttle style, make the game’s display hidden, and switch from right-handed to left-handed controls.

Once you’ve made the necessary controller adjustments and fine-tuned your handling, you will become a force to be reckoned with on the streets.

Drift Mania 4The Good

Unlike many racing games with a goal of being the fastest, this game makes you work for your win by having you learn the art of the drift. It is fun to hone your skills and become a drift king.

This game comes with a lot of features and racing options for the price. You can race alone or against friends, upgrade your car, purchase better vehicles, listen to your own music, and more.

The Bad

The learning curve is fairly sharp, about as sharp as those hairpin turns. It took me a while to get my car and controls to work the way I wanted them to. The virtual steering wheel is awkward and difficult to use.

Value

Drift Mania: Street Outlaws costs $0.99. The game does include in-app purchases, but from my experience, you will only need to spend more money if you want to buy big ticket items, like a flashier car or customized wheels and window tints. You can definitely play the entire game without needing to buy upgrades with more than what you’ve won in the game.

Conclusion

Racing games are a-plenty in the App Store right now. Add Drift Mania to the long list of available games in the genre. What makes this stand out is the interesting drift theme that lets you spend more time driving like a boss instead of like a bat out of hell. If you like driving games that don’t focus so much on getting to the finish line first, you should check out Drift Mania: Street Outlaws. This game is available on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Download it in the App Store today.

Related Apps

I mentioned above some similarities to 2k Drive. Of course, Drift Mania Championship is very similar, although a few years behind in graphics and technology.