If there is one thing I can’t fault Power of Slide for, its for its character and clear labour of love. A lot has gone into making the physics based gymkhana styled stunt game. There’s potentially a lot to love but it also has one of the most divisive driving handling models I’ve played in recent memory.
Let’s cover that handling statement out of the box. The car handles like its on ice at all times. Yes, this is a drifting game but drifting requires a bit of speed to slide and control the slide around the corners. Power of Slide rarely gives you the ability to reach that speed and so most the game you’ll be in low to medium speed turns, slaloming through gates, into zoned areas and around poles. It’s at the low speed stuff that the everyday car feels sluggish and icy at the same time, weirdly looping around and belly flopping out of control. For some, you’ll love this wrestling challenge. For me, I found it infuriating for a large portion of my game time.
Part of this issue comes down to the challenges you are given. There are several real world styled areas for you to explore in the city, docks, race track or car park to name a few. Inside them are plenty of challenges to follow but they often revolve around very tight twists and turns that show off the worst of the handling model – or the least satisfying at least. Maybe I was missing something but most of the drifting zones and tight pole turns felt impossible to chain together without taking run ups and doing so invalidated your time and performance. It was a shame as driving between challenges and just letting loose showed the game has plenty of puppy energy to it but the actual challenges themselves rarely show that off.
Each challenge can give you one, two or three stars along with style points and those combined open up new areas on your maps to enjoy. This works nicely as you don’t need to capture all the stars at once and often its better to focus on individual stars each run. You can finish a challenge in under 90 seconds but in doing so, avoid the drift high score which will slow you down. This in turn builds up your overall points meter that you can cash in for new areas. I really liked that often moving between areas became its own weird physics based puzzle too with abstract balance beams and weird things to overcome.
The actual challenges themselves are quite varied too and Power of Slide deserves huge props for it. Parking, drifting, obstacle and racing challenges are regulars. Oher ones like bell ringing, stunt jumps, triggering or avoiding mines, setting off fireworks and so on all make the game feel fun and varied. There aren’t really AI cars to race but you do have RC cars to tackle and smash into in takedown missions. All these challenges have their own online leaderboards. As the game is so tricky to control with any precision at all, I found that by world three , there was only four players completing them. The drop out rate early on is huge.
What’s missing from a varied game full of character are quality of life features. The games respawn feature bugged out constantly – dropping me in the water or in never ending out of bounds places. There is a marker to drop and respawn from by that bugged out too. This meant always driving from event to event. As your previous attempted event stays laid out, that can cause you some issues getting to the next event too such as giant mines or beams blocking your way. I also had my controls go unresponsive a few times too.
This lead me to feeling like Power of Slide was released perhaps a little too early. There is a lot of love and you see it in the detailed environments, varied challenges and quirks the game wears on its sleeves. With some quality of life features and some work to make the low speed drifting a little less sluggish (the turning circle doesn’t match what the game expects from you) then I think there is genuinely something good here. For now though, managing to feel both lethargic and skiddy is an odd combo and so it feels a bit odd to play. Power of Slide is for the hardcore drift gamers dream only and you’ll need the patience of a saint.
Power of Slide
Whilst it has a lot of character, it has a lot of glitches and not very many quality of life features. An exercise in frustration and patience for only the most hardcore driving challenge fiend.
Plenty of variety in the challenges.
Online leaderboards for all.
Respawning bugs out constantly.
Driving feels both lethargic and skiddy, which felt unsatisfying to me.
Rarely puts its best foot forward, instead confining you to slow speed challenges that want the precision and turning circle the game often doesn't allow you to have.
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