A fun arcade-style shooter with disappointing default controls.I have a love/hate relationship with Nova Drift. On one hand, I like arcade-style shooters. On the other, the controls almost make me want to not recommend this game. Especially if you play on keyboard.
The gameplay is more Asteroids than the more modern style of twin-stick shooter. On paper, that's not a problem for me. Others who didn't grow up playing classic arcade games will find it a very jarring, perhaps even unenjoyable, experience.
Nova Drift does make up for its gameplay style with otherwise fun mechanics. The action turns from slow-and-methodical to a fight for survival at a moment's notice. RPG elements are added in, allowing for customization and entertaining progression.
Graphically, Nova Drift is vividly colorful without going overboard . It's not in-your-face with cyberpunk neon and more lens flare than a Michael Bay summer blockbuster. The only complaint I have is that there are enemies and bosses who are the same color of the player. I mistook an enemy as a power-up during my first game. While a similar color would suffice, the exact same color does not.
The audio is great. Nothing to complain about.
Now to the elephant in the room: the controls. The keyboard controls, to be quite frank, suck. At least on the default config. They're unintuitive and, while I could get used to them, it felt like I was playing an old DOS game rather than a modern indie game. Granted, you can change the keyboard controls in the settings, but you shouldn't have to.
The controller worked and felt so much better out-of-the-box in comparison. However, to bring up an earlier point, the Asteroids style of gameplay doesn't translate well to a modern game. A twin-stick style of controls would've worked much better. All this coming from a student of the classic arcade cabinets.
To Nova Drift's credit, the game isn't unplayable. Quite the contrary. It's a very fun arcade-style shooter that's looks great and is addictive. Despite its flaws, it's still worth checking out for a gamer looking for a new casual game.