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KartRider: Drift - What We Know So Far

Move over, "Mario Kart." There's a new racing title that's revving up to be a budget-friendly game changer for fans of whimsical, campy fun on wheels. After years of development, "KartRider: Drift" will be holding its third Closed Beta Dec. 8-15, 2021 to give players a taste of what they can expect from the game. By the looks of things, "KartRider: Drift" will be a wild ride.

Though this franchise may not be familiar to American players, "KartRider" games have been a massive hit with gamers in Asia. According to a press release from Nexon, the company both publishing and developing "KartRider: Drift," the original "KartRider" game from 2004 has been enjoyed by over 380 million players. An eSports league for the series-defining title launched in 2005 in Korea, and "it continues to be the longest-running eSports league to date."

As a free-to-play game, "KartRider: Drift" has the potential to pique the interest of racing game fans worldwide. Considering the most recent entry in the main "Mario Kart" series, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe," has gotten more popular each year since its 2017 release, it seems possible that some fans of the popular Nintendo title could be in the mood for something different, yet familiar. Since "KartRider: Drift" will be available on several other consoles, it could strike a chord with those who don't have a Nintendo Switch, which is known for a whole different kind of drift.

To help potential fans decide if they're along for the ride, here are all the details available so far about the upcoming release of "KartRider: Drift."

KartRider Drift Release Date

Just like the cars in the game, the release date for "KartRider: Drift" has been steadily sliding further and further away with time. Originally announced with a 2020 release window, "KartRider: Drift: is now slated for a 2022 release.

In the meantime, the upcoming Closed Beta Dec. 8-15, 2021 will offer players a chance to try out "KartRider: Drift" with all the changes that have been implemented since the last beta took place over a year prior. According to three update blogs shared by the developers, the latest version of the game will include new convenience features to help guide players, a Winners Podium, updated tracks, including never-before-seen Moonhill and Mine themes, and more features that haven't been revealed just yet.

Upon its release sometime in 2022 (if all goes according to plan), "KartRider: Drift" will be available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. That includes both the imminent release and the upcoming beta, which gamers can sign up for on the game's official site. Thanks to the most recent trailer update for "KartRider: Drift," it'll be easy to know what to expect.

KartRider Drift Trailers

The two trailers released for "KartRider: Drift" include the announcement trailer from Nov. 2019 and a recent gameplay trailer from the Oct. 27, 2021 Sony State of Play, which gets gamers up-to-speed with changes that will be featured in the Dec. closed beta.

The announcement trailer introduced the "drift fueled competition" of Speed Mode and the "easy arcade thrills" of Item Mode. Quick shots throughout the trailer showcased a wide variety of atmospheres and game elements, including giant ramps, alien abductions, bomb attacks, and tracks everywhere from the desert to the icy tundra and beyond. Also introduced were game features including customization and promises of "dynamic online updates and seasonal content." Free play was also promoted.

As for the gameplay trailer set to Blondie's "One Way Or Another," fans are invited to race their friends. The city track featured in the trailer shows drifting riders hitting obstacles like ice attacks and the local bus, which provides players a more detailed glimpse into gameplay. There's also an icy mountain track with barricades and jumps, plus a Halloween-inspired track, complete with pumpkins and a giant banana peel. Customizations are shown for cars, balloons, outfits, and more, with styles taking inspiration from bunnies, airplanes, the beach, steampunk, and plenty of other options. Cross-platform online play is confirmed. In addition to what's previewed in the trailers, there are some additional gameplay details available for "KartRider: Drift."

KartRider Drift Gameplay

As has been the case since "KartRider: Drift" was announced, there are two main gameplay modes: Item Mode and Speed Mode. According to an update from Nexon shared on the PlayStation blog, Item Mode allows players to race and collect no more than two items "to attack, defend, or support your allies in team-based races." Variety is assured with more than 15 different items to discover, and more will likely be added over time. As for Speed Mode, "players that enjoy fast-paced, competitive racing" will get to fill up their boost gauges by drifting. Nailing the drift will unlock a "boost item" that will allow gamers "to blast off ahead of other karts." Timing and strategy will be the name of the game.

"Deep character and kart customization" were also touted in the blog, with 7 characters and over 20 kart options available for the beta. As for the tracks to be featured in the beta, there will be more than 30 available, including a lava landscape, enchanted forest, and a bunch more, including those featured in the recent gameplay trailer. Unreal Engine 4 graphics are responsible for the game's stunning visuals. The game promises to stay current with large-scale updates, so it has the potential to stay fresh for quite some time.

With all that's been shared about "KartRider: Drift" so far, there's still more to come. Gamers interested in test driving this title for themselves can sign up for the Closed Beta Dec. 8-15, 2021.