This week’s Kickstarter Spotlight focuses on an 80’s inspired sci-fi racer from Megacom Games. This is one of many racing games that have cropped up via Kickstarter in the past year or so. This one, though, does not hold back in paying homage to what the development team clearly loves. Let’s take a look at Power Drive 2000.
The developers of Power Drive 2000 state at the top of their campaign page that the current state of the game, pre-alpha, has some bugs in it. There will be glitches but to “soak in the neon” all the same. I think it says a lot about the approach of Megacom Games when it comes to their heavily-inspired-by-the-1980’s racer. If ever there were a game that was specifically made for the sort of tastes I have? It might be this one. The neon-drenched potential of this game screams at me from the trailer. The idea of having C.A.T (Computerized Autonomous Technology) chirp at me during missions or during time trial sessions? YES. Driving a car named AVENGER 2000? OH YES PLEASE. The footage above showcases numerous scenes including city streets, straightaways, serious drifting along with what appears to be a preview of an Outrun-esque mode.
I don’t know about you, dear reader, but that might the be most 1980’s Sun I’ve ever seen in a game. It isn’t had to get the same sort of nostalgic pangs that something like Far Cry: Blood Dragon elicited not long ago. This is a game that clearly wears its influences on its sleeve and James Greb, the lone developer working on Power Drive 2000 hits those same nerves all over again. Not every racing game needs to be a simulation. That market is clearly covered at this point with Forza, Project CARS, Gran Turismo and into infinite being available. The more arcade style racer, though, has always had a special place in my heart. Games like Outrun, Daytona USA, Pole Position, Ridge Racer and San Francisco RUSH took not only lots of my time but also a lot of my money. I gave it gladly, though, as those games were just downright fun. Kickstarter has answered with a bumper crop of games looking to be the next Outrun or Daytona. Megacom Games’ first project seems to be filling the role that Outrun assumed quite nicely but cranks the volume to 20, slaps on the most luminescent paint jobs possible and brings the thunder.
The game comes down to two things: drifting and boosting. Want to make those tight corners? Drift like there’s no tomorrow. Doing so will recharge the Turbo meter and, thus, keep things moving at a breakneck pace. The proposed Game Modes for Power Drive 2000 include:
- Race Mode
Standard race against the clock or challenge a player’s ghost from the leaderboards.
- Collector Mode
The player’s score is based on time and how many diamonds are collected during the race.
- Outrun Mode
Weave in and out of traffic as you try to outrun a police chopper through the streets of an 80’s cyberpunk and neon city.
- Vaporizer Mode
The walls of the track are lined with a laser fence. You touch them and it’s game over. No checkpoints. Not for beginners.
- Gauntlet Mode
Dodge obstacles in a procedurally generated environment as you try to escape a giant laser wall barreling towards you. Different from most ‘runners’ as you will have to make 90-degree turns and travel parallel to the deadly laser wall you are trying to outrun.
- Turbo Mode
The player will start the race with unlimited ‘Turbo’ for boosting.
Online and local multiplayer support. The player can also challenge ghost plays from the leaderboard.
Major takeaways from all of that? LOCAL MULTIPLAYER. Good thing the game has just been confirmed as coming to the Playstation 4 as well! Few things can compare to the thrill of edging out your friend, seeing the sting of defeat on their face in-person and then restarting and going at it again. I’m talking nudging with elbows, stepping on toes, just goin’ nuts and having a blast. Outrun Mode? Don’t get caught by the cops as you weave in and out of city streets. Don’t get lost, kid.
So Much Synth
One thing leaps out most about Power Drive 2000 to me and is the Synthwave soundtrack.
The roster of artists being assembled to make music for this thing is staggering. Think back to the Hotline Miami soundtrack, take nearly all the artists off of that and then toss them onto a racing game. The soundtrack will include names like Vector Hold, Mega Drive, Absolute Valentine, GosT, Amplitude Problem, Dance with the Dead, Dan Terminus, Carpenter Brut, Killstarr, Dynatron, Dream Friend, Niky Nine, Garth Knight, Nightstop and more.
If ever there were an aesthetic and auditory merger that felt like a match made in Heaven? It is to be found here in Power Drive 2000. I’ve not only listened to many of these artists for years now but to see the cream of the crop like that? Fantastic. The developer even mentions that this “selection wasn’t an afterthought; it helped shape the vision of the game from the beginning.” It certainly appears to be the case as each nuance of what has been revealed thus far is pure transcendent 80’s love.
The campaign, with four days left as of publishing, sits at $24,448 (close to its modest goal of $37,009). Those who wish to kick in a few bucks to the cause will be rewarded accordingly with reward tiers such as digital copies of the game, early access to Beta builds, soundtracks, exclusive posters, t-shirts, in-game decals, ornaments, badges and billboards as well. Nothing fancy but definitely tantalizing to those who might want to offer their support.
I will leave you all with this video below from noted Let’s Play creators, SuperBestFriendsPlay. You not only get a sense of what the game is in this early stage, hear some of the fantastic music but also a feel for how it moves, how fast it is, etc. This video is slightly NSFW due to language. Viewer discretion is advised.
Power Drive 2000 is in the last days of its campaign and is nearly there. Show your support and toss a buck or two their way. It’ll go a long way in making sure this gnarly arcade racer gets to see the light of day. Want to give the game a go yourself? You can download it via itch.io.
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