Years of playing racing games that haven’t allowed virtual mirrors have helped train my ears to become opponent radar spotters. As someone who has often had the blue flag waved at them, it has been a great skill to hone over time.
Never has that skill been better put to use than in the fantastic comedy game Blind Drive which released earlier this month for PC, macOS, iPad iOS and Android.
Blind Drive casts you as Donnie. Donnie has signed up for one of those dodgy newspaper ads that request guinea pigs for science studies. Little does Donnie know that this means that he’ll be driving a car that cannot be stopped whilst totally blindfolded
Not even Sandra Bullock had to deal with this level of insanity. As the player, you can close your eyes for the entire gaming experience. Blind Drive relies solely on your ability to hear sounds and quickly react to them.
Headphones are not a recommendation here, they are a requirement. As you speed down the highway, you’ll get audio cues and warnings as to where traffic is coming from and you’ll use the analogue stick, keyboard or press and hold on your screen to swerve in the opposite direction.
The audio is a mixture of car engines, horns, ice cream van music and angry drivers cursing at you for slowing them down. As they are all travelling at different speeds, you’ll get different warning times to swerve out the way. Your ears will quickly hone in on any sound and so Blind Drive finds new and inventive ways to keep you on your toes. The audio is so well put together that you’ll pick out small engine note changes, wind sweeps and even changes of terrain. These often signal new challenges for you to overcome too.
The crazy story unfolds featuring voice talent from The Jackbox Games series (Traxion Quiplash special anyone?). As your Grandma and the mobsters argue through your in-car speakers, your car develops its own issues. The GPS has its own angry personality, flippantly getting directions wrong to stress you out. A fly gets in and buzzes around everywhere causing you to second guess noises. You even end up underwater having to dodge dolphins with missiles attached to them!
The audio changes as your environment does and it’s equally impressive and immersive to experience it. Who would have thought having the window down for two levels would cause so much carnage?
I could do this with my eyes closed
You have three lives which can be replenished by missing a number of obstacles or by ramming an ice cream truck. Ice cream sends you into a psychedelic trance and bestows superhero hearing upon you. Everything sounds twice as fast but also twice as clear. It is one of the weirdest but intriguing power-ups in gaming history.
Over the course of the game’s 27 levels, you feel like you’ve been dragged through a feature film turned into an audiobook. Replayability is extended by uncovering various secrets and trying harder difficulty modes. Each playthrough has randomised traffic, although the level structure remains the same. This is because each level usually adds a specific audio variant you have to deal with, like having the radio on for example.
There is also the addition of text to speech accessibility across the whole game too. Whilst we may not have a large amount of visually impaired racers out there, this is a thoughtful inclusion.
Although you don’t need to look at the screen, there are visuals on display. A simple animated bar takes on various graphical effects as you play through the game. Blind Drive looks sleek but ultimately all the plaudits here are for the sound design and crazy script. This is the kind of plot the Sci-fi channel will now be kicking themselves for not thinking of first.
While Blind Drive may be one of the most tenuous links to the sim racing world, I think racers will find this comedy gem the perfect way to relax and unwind. It is a truly unique experience and no doubt one that will supply countless memes afterwards. Next time someone says ‘I could drive that with my eyes closed’ point them to Blind Drive and let’s see how well they do…
|Release date||10th March 2021|
|Available platforms||Android (phones and tablets), iOS (iPad), macOS (itch), and PC (Steam and itch)|
|Version/s tested||PC and Android|
|Best played with||Controller and headphones|
Full disclosure: We purchased this game for the purposes of review. Here is our review policy.