Game

Pixel Drifters is a great, addictive racer that’ll give Micro Machines a run for its money (or not… they’re both freemium games.)

Price: Free
Version: 1.3
Size: 126 MB
Developer: Appsolute
Platform: iPhone & iPad

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Remember Micro Machines? Growing up many of us will have enjoyed endless days playing with small cars and trucks – many of us will also remember the top-down racing games it spawned across older consoles like the Game Boy or PlayStation.

However, when it comes to Micro Machines’ App Store game, it’s just not… well, nostalgic enough. It introduces us to a semi-side on 3D landscape with all-too elaborate power-ups.

In many ways, it feels like Pixel Drifters is trying to capture the retro crowd with its game. The music is bleepy, 8-bit joy, and its array of cars that can be won are colorful, and uncomplicated.

Classic doughnuts

Classic doughnuts

Just to top it off, the handling is appalling. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. This kind of gameplay will be familiar to anyone that’s played the older Micro Machines games.

The tracks are procedurally generated and don’t follow any kind of route or circuit. It’s free-for-all, and you constantly face surprising obstacles like trains, barriers, and any solid object. The goal, as with many games, is to get coins. Lots of them. These can be used to secure power-ups, enter competitions to get new cars and more.

Getting those sweet coin combos

Getting those sweet coin combos

The freemium nature is a little frustrating – an ad pops up every few turns – full video ads, as well – and considering how fiendishly difficult it can be, it feels like barely a minute has gone by sometimes before facing an ad.

Especially when the missions ramp up. Each time, you have a couple of goals, such as activating certain objects, or getting a decent combo on the coin collections. When you complete the missions, the level doesn’t end allowing you to collect more coins until you crash.

This is going to hurt

This is going to hurt

Which is a lot. The cars slip and slide all over the place, and while the game is super-fun most of the time. Spend too much time with it and it’ll get mighty frustrating.

As a free title, Pixel Drifters is a great addition to the App Store. You can also remove ads for $2, which we’d recommend. From there it’s plain sailing to fun, frustration and hours of addictive gameplay.

Review: Pixel Drifters is the latest top-down freemium racer – and it's fiendishly difficult
Great fun, incredibly challenging/frustrating
For
  • Retro-goodness
  • Easy to get going
Against
  • Frequent video ads
3.5Overall Score