KartRider: Drift Closed Beta Hands-On — Frantic Kart Racing

We go hands-on with KartRider: Drift, a colorful kart racer from developer Nexon.

If you've been waiting for a Mario Kart-style racing game to appear on a non-Nintendo platform, you might want to check out Nexon's upcoming free-to-play kart racer, KartRider: Drift.

We got a chance to check out the latest closed beta for KartRider on Steam this past week, which helped us get our bearings and a taste for how this new racer plays in motion. Here's what we think about it so far. 

KartRider: Drift Closed Beta Hands-On — Frantic Kart Racing

From the 45 minutes I spent in the KartRider: Drift closed beta, I can think of one word to summarize my experience: smooth. My time was far smoother than I would have expected from a free-to-play kart racer on Steam.

With an Xbox One controller in-hand, I found the game's handling, steering, and drifting mechanics almost as responsive as I'd expect from the controls in a quicker-paced combat racer like WipEout.

And, while its art-style is a bit generic, I found that when the graphics are maxed out and the rubber is burning, KartRider has some truly robust visuals that make the experience all the more delightful.

Each track is designed with a unique theme, and there is a remarkable variety between the 16 different available tracks. You can customize your kart as well: there are character skins, kart decals, paint jobs, license plates, and similar things that you can change in and out to your heart's delight.

KartRider will be free-to-play upon release with a daily rewards system (and presumably a cash shop?). It will also have a handful of different gameplay modes, though I was only able to try the Time Trial mode in the beta. In typical fashion, it had me set my own best time and then compete against a ghost version of myself. However, I noticed that there was also a set of really comprehensive tutorials ranging from Beginner to Advanced.

In regards to multiplayer, I didn't see a multiplayer mode inside of the closed beta. That said, Nexon claims on KartRider's Steam store page that several multiplayer modes are coming with the racer at launch, including local split-screen and cross-platform online multiplayer modes.

My experience with the KartRider: Drift closed beta was a bit short, but we should have more details on KartRider at some point in 2020. The racer is slated to release on the Nexon launcher, Steam, and Xbox One at some point in 2020, though we don't have any further details as of yet.

[Note: A copy of KartRider: Drift was provided by Nexon for the purpose of this hands-on preview.]

Published Jun. 12th 2020

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