07th Jul2017

‘Drive Girls’ Review (PS Vita)

by Guest

Review by Dave Aubrey

drivegirls-box

There have been times in my life where I’ve seen a piece of machinery and felt something. Perhaps a throb of the heart, a mild chill down my spine as I see some fantastic specimen of modern technology spring to life. It happened when I first turned on a new high-end PC. It happened when I first saw the slick OLED screen of a new PlayStation Vita. It has even happened when gazing upon the streamlined bodywork of a shiny new sportscar – but that’s where my affection for these things stops. For those of you out there that want just that little bit more, there’s Drive Girls.

Now, I’m not saying you have to have a case of mechanophilia to enjoy Drive Girls, but after spending hours with the Drive Girls team, I’m not sure what other reason there is. Drive Girls is, most of the time, an action brawler where cute anime girls wearing skin-tight (for some reason the outfits collapse into themselves and even go into the girl’s bellybuttons?) frilly outfits battle waves of robotic Bug monsters – and it’s not very good.

If you’ve played any action brawler (particularly the slightly-sexy kind such as Senran Kagura) then you essentially know what to expect from Drive Girls’ combat – mash out Square and Triangle combos to do damage, mix up using Cross to jump to throw a few aerial moves in the mix. Unfortunately, it just might be one of the most unresponsive combat systems I’ve played in an action game in a long time. Combos quickly become repetitive and frustrating, with slashes of your blades feeling as deadly as leeks, and your Dash/Dodge move set to Circle rarely wants to come out when you press it. What this combines to create is a clusterfluff of mashing Square, Triangle and – when you think a larger enemy is about to unleash an attack – Circle. That’s pretty much it, aside from the big selling point, of course.

What would Drive Girls be without cars? Yes that’s right, our busty and scantily clad ladies don’t just have looks on their side, they have roaring engines firing them up. R and L in Drive Girls work as they do in a racing game – accelerate and brake/reverse, respectively. Holding down R will suddenly transform your wobbly-chested warrior into a high-horsepower hummer – or some type of recognisable-but-plagiarised sports car. In this mode you can run down enemies and spin around to attack foes in all directions – and, honestly, this is by far the best part of Drive Girls.

Drifting around in a car while attacking the robot bug creatures is dumb fun – it looks ridiculous and it feels ridiculous. It’s be great, if the arenas you fight on were at all built for cars. To attack you have to drive into enemies and spin attack them, requiring momentum, meaning you’ll ending up drifting in circles trying to attack a small cluster of foes, until eventually reverting back to your on-foot form. Why the most attractive part of the entire game was sullied by terrible level and mission design I’ll never know.

The cars do get a moment to shine, though – when doing battle with other girls these battles take place as races. Yes, the races are bad. Courses are mostly boring stretches of nothing on track, there’s only ever a single other opponent who can’t keep up, and the only real thing to do during these sections is run over the few enemies that appear so you can keep boosting to the finish. It’s absurdly simple – and there’s no excuse for such a poor excuse for racing side-missions in a game like this to take in excess of three minutes. They’re mundane after just one.

Outside of the missions, you can attach some stickers to your ladies/cars, buy health items from the shop and endure an incredibly tedious story about Lancier – your main character – and how she joined a squad of other car-girls to protect an uninhabited island. Usually I wouldn’t leave mentioning the plot to near the end of my review, but in Drive Girls more than most, it is entirely pointless. Characters don’t seem to develop, relationships don’t really grow, none of the characters are remarkable in any way and instead are just predictable anime girl archetypes that have been done time and time before and almost always better than this. It’s truly a shame.

What else is there to say about Drive Girls? It’s just another anime action brawler game where all the characters have boobs – heck, they don’t even really get undressed all that often. In fact, would mechanophiles even be into this? To be honest, even if the thought of giving an anime girl a car decal tramp stamp (yes this is a thing in Drive Girls) gets you excited, it’s probably still best to give this a miss. You’ll end up disappointed.

Drive Girls is out now on PS Vita.

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