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Hands-on with Gymkhana game Power of Slide

Inspired by Ken Block’s Gymkhana videos, Power of Slide brings you a stylised drifting challenge.

Playing the demo that was part of the Steam Next Fest, the game provided a whole area chock full of challenges to get your teeth into. It’s a challenge alright, but one that with plenty of time and patience, you can master.

The game reminds me a little of Absolute Drift in terms of level design. Each level is an area that progressively opens up as you complete earlier tasks. Each task is drift related and you can see the momentum of your drift on the UI at the bottom of the screen.

Power of slide

The full game will have multiple cars to try but for the demo, the single car I had handled like a soapy tank. The car’s weight felt progressively more powerful the harder you drifted and so looping around or skidding wide under breaking was incredibly easy to do. After over an hour of playtime, I still didn’t feel like I had the hang of it but at least I could stay on track.

Each task or challenge earns you points and stars. You can get a star for completing a challenge regardless of how long it took you. Additional stars can be earned by beating time limits and performing clean sweeps like not touching any traffic cones in the parking challenge. These extras are very hard to beat and require skills that I simply couldn’t muster!

Power of Slide on Steam, yellow car drift

While playing you also score points as you show off your (limited in my case) skills. Chaining drifts, spins, two-wheeled moments or jumps build your multiplier to score higher too. Scoring only matters for a few events but acting as checkpoints are score meters where you deposit your points and stars. Once filled, the next section of the level opens up with more tasks to get stuck into.

Thankfully you can repeat tasks and freedrive to earn points too, so if you are terrible at the game like I was, a bit of grinding will open the level up further.

By far the best thing about Power of Slide is the variety of things to do. From Gymkhana around the car park and parking challenges, you’ll then be doing donuts around mines, ringing coloured bells, balancing on beams and having collect-athons around race tracks.

Power of Slide explosion

I hope this variety continues on into the full game itself. Get frustrated clearing obstacle courses? Then let loose by drifting around race tracks or gardens instead.

I am accepting that the game is currently in an unfinished demo form and I did find some tweaks I’d like to see. The respawn feature drops you off at weird and random points at the moment. There appears to an option to mark custom respawn points which is a great idea but it didn’t work for me. It also felt like the handling was too weighty at times and the additional challenges quite difficult to achieve.

This, when combined with the fixed camera perspective, made some of the challenges a little tricky to clear. The fixed camera bugged out a few times on respawns and I’d have to exit out the game to bring the camera back to its correct angle. But hey, as I said already, this is far from the final version of the game.

Power of Slide game, jump

I was also surprised to find myself 4th on the online leaderboard for a challenge as I’d missed the bonus star by almost a minute. Some of this will be down to the way you are tracked on each challenge. If you have to clear a route, you must stick to the dotted line in order for it to register that you’ve completed it properly.

Sometimes you can bungle corners and the game doesn’t mind. Other times – especially with obstacle courses – you must be exacting or it’ll determine you’ve not completed the task. Finesse and polish to this system will reward competent gamers and ensure cheaters get locked out of the top scores, but at present, it’s a little hit and miss.

Power of Slide has tons of potential and its clear there is a lot of love put into the game. Who doesn’t want to be a shoe magnate with a passion for burning rubber? You’ll need to keep your rage in check to win big when the final version launches on PC later this year.

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