Liftoff: Drone Racing Preview – A Uniquely Fun Experience

by Dan
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Liftoff: Drone Racing

Liftoff: Drone Racing is one of those titles that makes you tilt your head and populate the space around with question marks. Merely telling people that I was excited to go hands-on with this game had them making me memes. Frankly, I would have felt the same way if I didn’t know something most people don’t: Liftoff: Drone Racing is a console sequel to a relatively popular PC title made by LuGus Studios.

The Concept

Whether you know it or not, there is a groundswell of enthusiast drone pilots in the world. I am not talking about folks like me who get a drone for Christmas, crash it three times and quit. I am talking about people who have thousands of dollars into their hobby, go to meetups, and stay up on all of the drone news and technology.

Like any hobby involving piloting an object, it is only natural that there is a further niche to see who can be the fastest. This niche is a group of enthusiasts who partake in drone racing. It is a pretty cool sport, and some network TV channels have picked up versions of it.

Liftoff: Drone Racing aims to bring the thrill of racing drones to your console. The previous iteration, titled Liftoff: FPV Drone Racing, did this well enough; but only on PC. By improving features, and stretching to the console market, the hope is to reach (or create) more drone racing enthusiasts.

Hands-on Impressions

At PAX East, I had the opportunity to play Liftoff: Drone Racing. Unfortunately, during my scheduled meeting time, they were having some issues with getting the build to work. To my trained eye, it looked like some network issues. On a packed PAX weekend, this would typically mean I had to skip the game, but I wanted to try it.

When I came around the following day and was greeted by several functioning gaming stations. I didn’t big-time the line and flash my media badge; I waited patiently for my turn. As soon as a station freed up, I sat down and ran through a race.

The game felt too easy. I was effectively controlling my forward tilt and my turning. Flying a real drone would require much more finesse. I waived over one of the folks working the booth, and they explained to me that the difficulty was variable. Once the assists were ramped down, things got sketchy.

Racing the drones around with realistic controls was super fun, but very challenging. The game become much more of a simulator with these settings. As someone who loves simulation games, that did not bother me; I just didn’t do well.

Final Notes

Liftoff: Drone Racing was quite fun. Whether you are entirely new to drone racing or want a truer to form simulation experience, this game delivers it. When you add in tons of licensed parts to customize your drone, and the ability to race others, things get more tantalizing. All in, racing drones is a uniquely fun experience.

You can look out for Liftoff: Drone Racing on PS4 and Xbox One sometime in 2020.

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