Drift, gain Nitro, Boost, and Drift again! This may seem like a simple cycle, but when it is sending your car rocketing into tight turns at breakneck speeds, it will take a lot of driving skill to stay on track. This is Ridge Racer Slipstream, Namco Bandai’s better port of the RR driving game series to the mobile platform. By better, we mean in comparison to their first attempt with RR: Accelerated –which was quite honestly not a good thing. Slipstream on the other hand, is good enough to give titles like Asphalt Airborne and Real Racing 3 some real competition. In the same sense that Ridge Racer kept its own niche in a genre dominated by Gran Turismo’s and Forza’s, Slipstream is setting out to carve its own place among mobile racing fans.
What is Ridge Racer Slipstream?
Slipstream is a paid racing game app with a some IAP systems put into place (which is not entirely a good thing). That said, there is no reason for players not to be able to grind the game hard enough in order to unlock stuff without having to pay extra. More importantly, Slipstream is a massive throwback to the previous Ridge Racer titles with its icon visuals of crazy cars and super stylish courses with wicked winding turns. Drifting is still a core element of the game and it will be something that you will be doing in races a whole lot. In fact, by the time you reach the uppermost tiers of the game, you will be drifting and boosting nitro non-stop. Lastly, as with almost all Ridge Racer games, the cars here are completely fictional (which is something fans of the series expect and love, but some racing fans find alienating).
As the title suggests, this racing game has slipstream mechanics –basically, if you keep driving behind another car, you will gain a boost of speed (which comes from having the wind resistance buffered or completely negated by the car in front of you). With this boost of speed, you can use a leading car to slingshot yourself to the front. Of course, opponents on your tail will also try the same tactic. This new mechanic is pretty interesting as it allows for new strategies –like sticking behind the car in first then speeding up to the finish line at the last moment.
Interesting as Slipstream’s new system may be, the big focus of any Ridge Racer game is on drifting. In this series, drifting around corners is the only real way to race. In fact, it is so important that cars with high handling stats (which are the hardest to drift) become pretty much pointless vehicles.
Drifting on even the most subtle of turns is far more beneficial than just plainly racing across it. This is because drifting is the best way to gain Nitro, and you can turn a nitro-boosted sprint into a high-speed drift. In turn, that nitro-drift gains even more nitro than a regular drift. Putting this into mind, the game pretty much becomes a frantic drift-nitro-drift kind of racing game where you will be playing the top tier races doing nothing else. While that may sound simple, remember that you will be doing these crazy nitro-drift across several connected, complex turns and curves that will push your steering skills to the max.
We Would Have Paid More
Slipstream is a whole lot better than Accelerated, and yet it is also cheaper. The catch is that some of the content in Slipstream will require some grinding. The game’s dual currency setup is something out of an F2P system with a few special cars only available via premium currency. While you can earn this manually by leveling up, winning a lot, and also by playing every day (log in bonuses are always welcome), it is still a lot of very grindy work. Not that the actual console versions of the game did not have its own version of top tier hard-to-unlock cars, but it would have been nice to make this mobile release a little more fun by taking away the premium currency.
Nagase Would Be Proud
Ridge Racer has always been a very niche series –and it is not surprising. From the Namco-centric designs of the cars and courses, to the fact that the drifting system is ridiculously physics breaking, it goes to show that the developers at Namco Bandai are not aiming to pander at the needs of the average car aficionado (who are more likely to be happier with other games such as the Asphalt series). Ridge Racer Slipstream succeeds in targeting these fans and delivers exactly what they are looking for: the same game mechanics, impressive visuals (the stages are gorgeously crafted), that signature techno-beat music, and the stylistic user interfaces.