The promise of a Shoot Em’ Up (shmup) game with ARPG elements is one that is not easy to fulfill. The combination packaged in Drifting Lands by Alkemi, though imperfect, is a remarkable attempt. The game is set in the lives of nomadic tribes that fight to survive in a shattered world that rises from a cataclysm (yeah, the visuals are gorgeous).
Besides being stuck between petty tribe politics, the purpose of your livelihood lies somewhere between being the tribe’s only capable bitch, and making your mark in a stunning bullet hell galaxy. Though the game is relatively wholesome for a shooter, it is not yet ready to make its mark as anything else due to a dull story premise, and repetition that undermine what’s good about the game overtime.
If you’re not a shmup person, this is definitely going to be a playable version for you, more so than for a hardcore shmup fan.
The game has a powerful RPG presence, that allows you a magnanimous amount of customization and building. In this case, you can use credits to upgrade your ship’s statistics (Navigation, Structure and Power), basic infrastructure (guns, armour, etc.), as well as to choose from the massive number of skills available.
Unlike most shmups, Drifting Lands makes use of equipped skills for a range of attacks and defense alike, so making sure you have the right gun equipped, and skills with heals and AOE damage go miles in ensuring your survivability in battle. The ability to ensure progression just the way you like it is one of the greater draws of the game, through ten chapters of play time.
Drifting Lands is also a visual spectacle with a percussive soundtrack that puts the game in a very distinctive artistic position. The soundtrack is not what’s typically presented in games of high intensity, and is almost much like a simplified cinematic score, depicting the poise of human grit. This also gives way to the visual execution of the game’s battle rounds, where your evil alien robot enemies swarm around you in a manner that is most elegant, almost like you’re caught in the middle of a class for synchronized swimmers. If you’re going to purchase Drifting Lands, splurge a little more on the Soundtrack Edition of the game, you won’t regret it.
The swarming visuals do get pretty dull after a while though, especially with a constant platform setting across the unnecessarily lengthy chapters that the game has. It does not help that the story is monotone, with characters that are there solely to look for excuses to provide missions a premise. Given that the character, story and platform design exist to serve the premise of the game through TEN long levels of missions, the lack of detail and repeated assets just feel like lazy , uninspired design and planning. The user interface of the game is also not up to standard and somewhat careless, but this is something that is likely to be fixed given the frequency of game patches.
Drifting Lands by Alkemi is a promising game that adds value and replayability to the average Shoot Em’ Up , with the addition of RPG elements and a compelling visual direction. Perhaps the constant patches by Alkemi will help polish game’s stable mechanic. Purchase this not to have your favourite bullet hells replaced, but for the variation that Drifting Lands offers.