Sitting snug inside my purring go-kart with sweat dripping off my brow as I take the last corner sideways soaring over the finishing line. As confetti explodes, I let out a loud cheer – it’s another race victory under my belt. But before you go thinking this is some latest escapade in Forza or Gran Turismo, it’s actually one of many moments I got to enjoy whilst playing the aptly named Bears Can’t Drift!

The creation of Arran Langmead and Strangely Named Studio Bears Can’t Drift!? let’s you fly around a number of cartoonish tracks as an adorable brown bear behind the wheel of a powerful go-kart.

Taking inspiration from old kart games from the 90’s, Bears Can’t Drift!? drops you down in a vibrant and colourful hub world where you have to find and drive through a warp gate to access race zones.

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Currently there are three zones you can explore and each one has a small number of race areas you can enter. There’s the forest, the Christmas themed ice world and an ancient Chinese ruins styled area. Although, I couldn’t access any of the races in the ruins as it seems they’ve still to be added.

An interesting feature of this game is that instead of setting up what kind of race you want to take
part in through a menu system you instead swap between modes by pressing ‘X’. There are three modes to choose from, there’s the standard race, time trial and hamper mode.

The first two are pretty self-explanatory, but it’s hamper mode where the game really starts to come alive.

The goal of hamper mode is to fill a bar up at the bottom of the screen by consuming as much food as you can get your greedy little bear mitts on.

To do that you just have to drive around picking up food or driving through one of the giant floating hampers that are littering the track, the more morsels you pick up the bigger your bar gets. First to fill it to the top wins, simple as that.

A fun feature of the hamper mode is that the more food you pick up the fatter your bear gets. Although it doesn’t really affect the carts handling, it can be difficult to see any incoming players or projectiles around all that excess fuzz.

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To get back on track for a moment, the actual racing part of the game is pretty good, although it’s a tad ‘bear’ bones (sorry I couldn’t resist) in terms of content, it still manages to keep you entertained.

Each race is three laps long and it can support up to four players with a split-screen, so you and your friends can boost around the tracks with your very own bears.

To add extra flavour to your antics Bears Can’t Drift!? also throws in a couple of power-ups that you can use to turn the tide in your favour. There’s shields, fish shaped rockets, owls that provide speed boosts and a beehive you can drop down as a mine to slow down anyone behind you. Plus there’s the aforementioned drifting option and with the simple tap of ‘B’ your fuzzy little driver will throw your kart around the track like the best drift car racer.

The drifting in this game is actually one of my favourite features, because when it’s used right it can let you slide by other racers like they weren’t even there. It’s rather satisfying to go from the back of the pack to flying across the finish line at a 90 degree angle in first place as confetti explodes around you.

However, one thing worth noting about Bears Can’t Drift!? is that it’s an Early Access game and you certainly notice this whilst you’re playing because there’s a lot left that the devs need to fix.

For starters, there’s a real lack of variety in character design. When you start a race you’re sat alongside identical looking bears, so there’s no real variety in the types and shapes of characters you’re racing against.


Although you can alter your own appearance to that of a cute Panda or a spooky Skeleton, the other racer models don’t change. So you have no idea if the guy that just overtook you was someone you’ve been fighting against the entire race, or a bear that’s came all the way from the back of the pack.

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Another issue is the games music. Even though the tracks are a delight to listen to, they drown out the other sounds in the races. For example, when you fire the rocket launcher or even rev your engine you won’t hear a thing because the soundtrack of the level is currently blaring over it.

There’s also a real lack of story or context to who your bear is and how he managed to get his paws on a kart let alone learn how to drive it.


Fortunately the devs are fairly proactive in fixing bugs and adding things to Bears Can’t Drift!?, which is good as I enjoyed playing around with it. Although there’s still a lot of work to be done, I’ll definitely be checking back on their progress to see what else they’ve added to this fun kart game.


Bears Can’t Drift!? is currently available on PC and although this game may be an Early Access title don’t let it fool you, those fuzzy little bears certainly can drift!

About The Author

Contributor

A self-described child of the 90s, Matt is obsessed with everything nerdy in that era from Transformers to G.I Joe. Found inside a bargain bin of Doctor Who DVD's, he was quickly adopted by the Indie Haven team and tasked with writing humorous articles.

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