Skydrift Infinity is an arcade style combat flight racer. This means that you race airplanes and sometimes use power ups to attack and defend against other racers, all with an arcade style control scheme. The game is set in a fictional universe, so the planes and locations are not what you would see in real life.
At it’s core, the game is about racing your aircraft, so I will start there. The basic speed race is as expected, with planes trying to complete a set number of laps around a course the fastest. The only special ability at your disposal is a boost function that fills up by doing tricks. These include barrel rolls, air drifts, overtakes, and flying close to the ground or obstacles. The courses don’t have checkpoints, so you can exploit shortcuts, but those usually require precision flying in tight spaces. The risk of crashing and respawning must be weighed against the reward of getting ahead. The courses also have several paths throughout, splitting the action into smaller, but closer proximity groups. The courses change a little each lap as well, with bridges collapsing, rockslides, and volcanic eruptions closing some routes but opening others.
Other racing modes offered are power race and survivor. Power race is like speed race, but with power ups. These power ups can be offensive like weapons to use against the other racers, or defensive, to defend against attacks from others. You can hold two different ones at a time and switch between them with a button press. You can also collect a second of the same power up to enhance its effect. This sometimes allows you to collect more ammo by collecting more of that power up too. If you pick up the wrong power up or want extra speed instead, you can convert power ups to boost if you want. Power race no longer means that the fastest racer can win, with the constant threat of destruction via other races’ weapons. The survivor mode is like power race, but without a set finish line. When a racers falls behind enough, a timer starts counting down. If they haven’t caught up by zero, they are eliminated from the race. This process continues until one racer remains.
Two different death match types are offered as well. These take place on arena maps, small enclosed areas, with lots of power ups. The two types are basic death match, a free for all, and team deathmatch, where two teams of players battle it out. These modes are timed, with the winner having the most points. Points are gained by damaging and destroying other planes.
All of the mentioned modes can be played in campaign or online. The campaign has a selection of modes on different tracks to be played against AI. You can adjust the difficulty of the AI and choose which events to participate in. Winning a certain amount of events unlocks more events to choose from. As such, the campaign mode is both a single player experience as well as somewhat of a practice mode. Otherwise, you can play each mode online against players from around the world. There is a quick play option for those looking to just jump into any mode, a search function if you want to play a particular mode, and private matches to play with your friends.
The controls are easy to use for even those unfamiliar with flight Sims. Movement is tied to the joysticks in way reminisce of FPS games. Then everything else, like power ups, boost, and drift are mapped to one button each. Additionally, you can turn inverted controls on or off to fit your preference, or even switch to a more advanced simulation style control scheme if you prefer.
The art style harkens back to older arcade style games in the genre, while updating everything to modern standards. The planes are somewhat retro futuristic in that they use propellers but look futuristic in their designs. I appreciate how each power up has a different color AND symbol, making identifying them easy, even from a distance. The levels feel really nice too, with a lot of movement and activity to make them feel alive. Each plane also has several unlockable skins to set yourself apart from the competition. Since it is a THQ game, some of the unlockable planes are characters from their library, like Darksiders!
Speaking of the planes, each one feels distinct from the others. Each one has its own Stat array, including values for speed, maneuverability, acceleration, boost power, and armor. Some of the planes are more well rounded, while others have the highest in a Stat but sacrifice elsewhere. None of them feel particularly underpowered or overpowered, which is impressive for a pvp game. Your success depends on using the plane’s abilities to the fullest, not the plane itself.
Overall, I quite enjoyed all aspects of the game, from campaign races to multi-player death matches. It felt like playing a new version of the classic games in the genre, fresh yet nostalgic. I would recommend it to anyone else that spent their youth playing these types of games of anyone that may be interested in the classics without all the baggage that comes with them.
I received a code for the game on Xbox from a PR agency with the expectation for coverage of some kind. I was also given a couple codes to give to friends that would allow us to try the multi-player before release. I personally played on Series X, as did my friends. I am mostly blind, so some things I have trouble with may not affect your experience with the game. The game is available now on several platforms.