[Review] GENSOU Skydrift – Nintendo Switch

Written by Paige Deltefsen
  • Developer: illuCalab
  • Publisher: Unties
  • Release Date: 12/12/2019
  • Price: £19.79 / $23.99 
  • Review code provided by: Unties

Step on the…girl?

Touhou is a bullet hell series of games, set in the land of Gensokyo containing humans, fairies and other yokai. Unlike most game IPs, The creator of The Touhou Project has allowed many fan projects. Due to this and the cast of cute girls many spin-offs using the characters and setting are made such as this. Gensou SkyDrift originally launched for PC in 2015 but this version has new tracks and characters.

Nothing ever seems to go right in Gensokyo, and this time it appears the resident’s spiritual energy is leaking. In order to chase after the suspect, one must ride on top of another to combine their power. Meaning this is a kart racer, where other characters are the karts.

Shut up and ride

Aside from that it’s a pretty typical kart racer, there are various circles on tracks that act as boosts, but also fill your meter. This meter replaces item boxes, instead when full you can pull a card, then use that spell. Some spells are either rare or only in versus mode. Each rider also has a special spell specific to them. The rider and “board” can be swapped between in order to hold an extra item, or use the other’s stats. Drifting is pretty important, though it is mapped to be B button which is annoying. The game has a campaign with ten races where you’ll progress with different characters. Afterwards there’s a slightly shorter campaign. Completing both of these will give you all seventeen tracks and twenty racers. 

Outside of the campaign, there is versus for one to four players split screen, online and time trials (including your own ghost). Online is done with either rooms, or ranked. Unfortunately I’ve only come across other players on the launch day. In the gallery you can see replays you’ve saved, the models of racers and listen to the soundtrack.

Speed over style

The game’s graphics are a bit of a low point, though on the TV they aren’t too bad, just seem outdated. I think Seirensen is the best looking track. All the characters have a chibi style to them. The campaign story is presented with simple visual novel segments. Animations are quite lacking, only showing for swapping riders, and getting hit throws the model around. Nothing for winning or throwing items. 

Gensou Skydrift’s music is largely remixes of Touhou music, in other words pretty darn good. Other sounds are okay, whenever someone gets hit it makes a pretty big sound which is funny. 

Twisted designs

I felt the performance was pretty good, it ran decently on handheld as well. The only time I noticed anything was whenever a track first loaded it stuttered in the opening scene. A major detraction of this game is the track designs themselves, to an extent that first time players are at a pretty big disadvantage. On lighter colour stages it’s hard to see the boosts, and in some places there are ramps that lead into a wall. A lot of stages have looping or a larger width to ride on, and on some of those sections the camera isn’t helpful. Through playing the game it’s mostly resolved but doesn’t make it good to share with people who are impatient. Occasionally I could get caught on a corner of the track and would have to drive off. 

Fun Flying Flandre

Gensou Skydrift is a pretty fun fast budget…girl racer. I had trouble putting the game down to finish my review. Sadly, it seems that the online has already died off. In terms of single player content past the couple hours to beat the campaigns you’ll be done as the COMS are pretty easy with a speedy rider. Some of the new race tracks are remixes but the addition of them and extra characters is appreciated. 

Pros

  • Feels fast
  • Great tunes
  • Four player split screen and online play

Cons

  • Outdated Graphics
  • Confusing Track Design
  • Lack of Animations

Verdict 

Verdict
For a cheaper priced kart racer, Gensou Skydrift is pretty decent. The outdated graphics, and obtuse track design drag it down a bit more than it needed. As long as you’ve got someone to play with, this is a fun little racing game.
2.5/5 

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