Nova Drift – Early Access Gameplay | Review

Nova Drift

Nova Drift is a roguelite space shooter with RPG elements. It’s similar to the classic arcade game, Asteroids, but updated for the modern era. Developed by Chimeric and published by Pixeljam, Nova Drift has been in development for over 4 years now and it’s inching its way to a full release soon. Currently, in Early Access, the game is surprisingly solid and very playable. In fact, it feels nearly complete, though the developer is still in the process of adding more to the game.

Nova Drift has you piloting a ship with the ability to acquire new weapons, evolve those weapons, change ship shapes, and upgrade your defenses. The RPG element comes into play with how you upgrade your ship as there seems to be quite a variety of paths you can take. It also doesn’t take that long either to upgrade your ship to become as powerful as you need it to be because upgrades come pretty quickly here.

In terms of gameplay, you move around like you would in space. thurst forward, and your ship will continue moving in that direction until you thrust in a different direction. Basically, you can only move in the direction you’re facing, but you can also only shoot in the direction you’re facing. That means tap on the thrust in the direction you want to go, aim, and shoot. Tap in the direction you want to go, aim and shoot. This isn’t a twin-stick shooter.

Nova Drift

While the game is pretty solid I”m not entirely keen on the control scheme. To me, that’s not very ideal at all for fast gameplay. This game begs to have twin-stick controls which would make much more sense where you can move with one stick and aim and fire with the other. It would make controlling your ship much more natural and precise. Also, rotating your ship seems a bit slow regardless of whether you’re using a mouse + keyboard or a controller. It needs to be a tick quicker or at least of the option to adjust the sensitivity.

Aside from that, you do get used to the controls after a while. While I’m not a fan of them, they’re not terrible. I can understand why the developer made them like that, as it does make the game more challenging and you have to take into account inertia when moving. Plus it feels more realistic since it is a space shooter. Aiming is easier with the mouse and keyboard though as opposed to a controller.

Nova Drift

Despite my preference for control schemes, Nova Drift is actually pretty good. It basically modernizes a classic space shooter and adds a ton of cool weapons and defense options. Even the ship types are pretty neat. The game can also get pretty hectic when there are a lot of enemies on the screen at once. I will say that Nova Drift does look really good too, especially the lighting effects and explosions.

So is Nova Drift worth a purchase? Even though it’s still in Early Access, the game is surprisingly “complete”. If it was released as is as a full game, you wouldn’t even really know that it was still being tweaked and being worked on. Of course, it’s always great when Early Access games have frequent updates and that’s what Nova Drift has. It is seeing consistent updates so you know that the devs care about releasing a perfect game. So yeah, Nova Drift I think is worth a buy if you are a fan of space shooters with RPG elements.


Received game from developer and/or publisher for coverage purposes.

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