By Steve Baltimore / June 29th, 2017
|Publisher||Rising Star Games|
|Release Date||June 13, 2017|
|Genre||Beat Em Up|
|Platform||PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV|
|Age Rating||PEGI 16|
When I first saw that Rising Star Games was localizing Drive Girls for the PlayStation Vita I got pretty excited. When I booted it up and saw the Tamsoft logo, the developer behind such games as Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus, MegaTagmension Blanc and Neptune Vs. Zombies, I had a pretty good idea what I was in for. The question on my mind was, are these characters going to be interesting, and will this have a decent story? Let’s find out.
The story takes place on Sun Island. A group of mechanical bugs have invaded and are slowly taking over the island. Five beauties that just so happen to transform into super cars must defeat the bug menace and save the island, and possibly the world itself!
I’d love to say there was more plot than this, but there’s really not. The story is as straightforward as it sounds. If you are thinking, well maybe the characters are well done and that will help balance out the weak story, sadly that’s not the case either. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with the girls or their dialogue, all of it is very stereotypical. Each girl pulls off their trope to a tee, Lancier is your typical air headed heroine with a heart of gold, Galaxa is the hyper but super cute girl that kicks ass, Seven is the straight laced gal that never cracks a smile, Regalith is super ditzy but dependable and of course the commander is hard on the girls but really cares for them. I don’t really feel that any of this is particularly bad, but there’s nothing about these girls that really makes them interesting or makes you care about what happens to them next.
The graphics look nice for a PlayStation Vita title. The models for the girls have a nice amount of detail when they are in human or car form. The character designs were done by popular illustrator UGUME and the artwork for the gals is top notch. The environments themselves are passable but nothing spectacular and there are only about four in the entire game. I’m sure the girls being cars and needing roads to drive contributed to this design choice.
The game’s music is actually pretty good. Plenty of upbeat tunes for you to slay the hordes of mechanical bugs infesting your island home. The sound effects are pretty basic, but I do love that the Lancier’s twin swords kinda sound like light sabers when you swing them. The game is fully voiced in Japanese and you can tell the voice team put their soul into bringing these characters to life, but you can only do so much with the script.
The gameplay here is really straightforward. The girls have square and triangle attacks and of course you use both of these together to make combos. You will start off with Lancier, who is the most balanced fighter of the five girls, and the others will unlock as you complete story missions. Your favorite will honestly depend on your playstyle. Want quick attacks, go with Seven, if you’re more of a mid ranged fighter go with Galaxa, or if you want a powerhouse, choose Regalith. While none of the girls have a large variety of moves the combat is still fluid and fun for the most part, but it can be repetitive. There are different moves for the gals if they are transformed, but they mostly consist of dashes and spin moves. This game, like many other Tamsoft games, features clothing damage if your gal loses too much health in health in human form. While this is humorous in Senran Kagura, it’s not so much here. You will take substantially more damage with torn clothing. I’m fairly certain those body suits must be made out of adamantium, because that is the only logical explanation here, right?
The story will take place over 24 story missions. These missions are generally pretty short and involve you running from one end of the stage to the other defeating all the bugs in your path and collecting items. Though there are a few races to mix things up a bit, these are very easy to win once you memorize where the obstacles are on the track. The biggest issue I have here is that stages take a while to traverse on foot, and they lay mines everywhere to impede your progress as a car. I mean they have these bad boys laid out perfectly so you cannot get by them. Which made one mission in the middle of the game an absolute chore to complete.
Some of the items you acquire will be stickers, which you can equip in-between missions to power up the girls’ various stats, and before you ask, yes the flame sticker makes you go faster. There are quite a few stickers you can collect and if you equip a full set you will get an added bonus effect. You can also buy these stickers at the in game store or trade stickers you have for new ones. The store also sells gears to power up your gal further, and items. The gears seem to boost your stats more than the stickers do and are not visable on the character model. Your items in this game are very important. A healing item once purchased will never completely go away. You will only be able to use it so many times on a stage, but it will completely refill once the stage is completed. You can equip up to five items at a time so think carefully about which ones will benefit you most.
While I can’t say Drive Girls is a totally bad game, I certainly cannot say it’s a good game either. The characters and plot are uninteresting, the combat is kinda fun but it has some issues, and there’s just no real hook here to draw you in. I finished the 24 story missions in about 7 hours and there were some extra missions to complete as well as an online multiplayer battle mode. If you’re a fan of Tamsoft games you will probably find something to like about this one, or if you just want a general time waster for your PlayStation Vita it might be worth the $39.99 price tag, but I think there are much better options out there for a lot less.
Review copy was provided by Play-Asia. If you would like a copy please use the affiliate link below.