[caption id="attachment_88738" align="aligncenter" width="639"] Screenshot: Drive Buy[/caption]
I have fond memories of playing games like Twisted Metal 2 in marathon sessions in my youth. As a result, I have a fondness for games featuring over-the-top vehicular combat, and I’ll usually jump at the opportunity to play one. I can’t say I had the highest hopes for Drive Buy coming into it based on its promotional material, but I also didn’t expect to be let down as hard as I was.
Drive Buy is an action party game where you play against three other players in various vehicle-based game modes. Each of the three game modes has you delivering packages or collecting purchases, which is in line with its cheeky consumerist satire. There is vehicular combat, but cars don’t come pre-equipped with weaponry. Instead, you have to rely on pick-ups to arm your vehicle. Combat is only secondary to the objectives, however, with arguably only one game mode that is focused on it. That’s fine, as long as the modes are fun—the idea of a Crazy Taxi meets Twisted Metal hybrid is exciting, but Drive Buy stalls in its execution.
[caption id="attachment_88740" align="aligncenter" width="639"] Screenshot: Drive Buy[/caption]
There are three game modes in Drive Buy: Delivery Battle, Payday, and Piggy Bank. Delivery Battle is a little bit like Crazy Taxi¸ but instead of picking up and delivering passengers, you’re picking up and delivering packages. The car you use has a package capacity, so it makes a difference what vehicle you use for this game mode. Payday is about collecting coins and stealing them from your rivals. Use power-ups to destroy rivals and grab their stash. Piggy Bank is similar, but only the player with the piggy bank can score. This giant bank slows down your top speed, however, making you easy prey.
Driving and combat in Drive Buy just doesn’t feel fun. Cars don’t feel weighty or mechanically satisfying to drive. Weapons use an auto-aim lock-on system so require little more than timing and positioning to use successfully. The game modes have rules that make them sound unique to each other, but they all feel very same-y. It doesn’t help that Drive Buy seems to have only one map to drive around in. If the driving was fun, that might not be the most horrible thing: I play a lot of repetitive games, but they’re usually fun or satisfying in some way. Drive Buy feels cheap and unsatisfying.
[caption id="attachment_88736" align="aligncenter" width="639"] Screenshot: Drive Buy[/caption]
Production-wise, Drive Buy is great. Its art style leans a little Fortnite with Vaporwave/Outrun highlights, and I totally dig it. It has a great soundtrack to go along with its great art style. Its theme of satirizing consumer culture isn’t unique, but its use in a vehicular combat game is. Its message tends to be a little too on the nose, however, but with its attempt at being over the top, this can be forgiven. There is even a microtransaction stop included that doesn’t appear to even allow you to spend real money. This is either an extremely clever tongue in cheek meta satire, or infrastructure for planned microtransactions. I’d like to think it’s the former, because for a game with such little content at its price point, the alternative is a bit depressing.
I would prefer to recommend Drive Buy than to say to avoid it, but I can’t recommend it. It feels cheap, unfinished, and unsatisfying to play. I love its presentation and art style, but it’s not substantial enough to be considered, in my opinion, a complete experience. Like I said, I’m a sucker for vehicular combat games, but I’d settle for a good game at all. This, sadly, is neither.
Drive Buy is available on Steam and Nintendo Switch.
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