OutDrive has spent the past couple days near the top of Steam's popular new releases section, and it only costs a few dollars. What could possibly go wrong? OutDrive is a neon-drenched — or drowned, really — endless driver. Billed as an "aesthetic experiment" with a focus on experiencing music, it looks very nice and sounds even nicer. Unfortunately, it's not a particularly enjoyable or interesting way to experience the music in question. You drive to keep a woman alive, and if you don't gun your Cyberpunk Boost-O-Tronic Lifepod often enough, she'll run out of air or blood or carburetor fluid or whatever and die. You drive, you drift, you boost. That's all. The level rarely varies and never ends. Driving doesn't even feel particularly good. Here's me playing it for a few minutes:
Plenty of great games make it into Steam's popular new releases section despite being relative unknowns. This isn't one of them. It has some cool ideas (a plot conveyed almost entirely through gameplay, a smooth soundtrack that reacts to your performance), but they're bolted onto a weak core. Four bucks ($US3.99, or $US1.79 [$2.49] at the current sale price) isn't much, but you can do better than spending it on this game.
It's also worth noting that two significantly better-looking '80s-themed driving games, Drift Stage and Power Drive 2000, are on the way from other developers. Some Steam users seem to think that OutDrive ripped off the latter, and while I don't think any assets were directly stolen, you have to admit that there are some pretty glaring visual similarities. OutDrive is, however, a different type of game with a different story, so it's not necessarily an underhanded clone job. It may have just been a bit too inspired by games like Power Drive 2000. Regardless, OutDrive is not very good, and that should be reason enough to steer clear.