Drive Girls (Review) PS Vita

Drive Girls (Review) PS Vita
Review Score:

Drive Girls by Rising Star Games is a quirky hack ‘n slasher hybrid that sees the player in the role of Lancier, a young woman who believes she’s taking a test to join some organization known as the Emergency Response Team. After passing, Lancier realizes that she was actually recruited for the ‘Drive Girls’ – a group of transformer-like women tasked to protect Sun Island from an army of robotic mechanisms called Bugs.

The game starts with the player participating in a handful of ‘test’ missions. These missions are essentially a tutorial that briefly outlines combat, the in-game driving mechanics and the mechanized bug invaders. After finishing the ‘test’ missions, the player is returned to the ‘Campaign Mode’ screen where they can select new missions from the ‘Mission’ menu; customize their character from the ‘Customize’ screen; and view art and listen to music via the ‘Gallery’ menu. There’s even an ‘options’ menu where the player can adjust the game’s display settings, camera, and volume settings.

The player can also equip second ‘Carms’, which are second auxiliary weapons that cost EP, but produce powerful range attacks. Completing missions will unlock a variety of second Carms to use in battle. This is also the case for Stickers, which can be equipped in 5 areas and can be used to power up the player’s character. Certain ‘sticker’ combinations will activate what is called ‘Sticker Skills’. These skills are separate from the effects of individual stickers.

The game contains a plethora of intermissions that play between missions. There’s voice acting throughout the entire game, but the dialogue is spoken in Japanese. The available subs do a great job of translating the conversations that occur during these segments. Most of the characters (i.e.Regalith, Naviko and the Commander, etc) seem bubbly, and their personalities seem to shine the most during important intervals of the story. Some gamers may argue that Lancier (the game’s protagonist) and her comrades are nothing more than generic, Anime tropes, but as far as this reviewer is concerned – it’s a matter of personal opinion; nothing more.

Combat is similar to Dynasty Warriors, as the player hacks and slashes their way through the game’s many levels. While fighting, the player can either choose to battle in human form – and execute combos by rapidly pressing Square button and Triangle button in succession – or transform into a car (which is done by pressing the Right Shoulder Button) and then attack in that form. While in car form, the player can run over their enemies or perform a spin attack by pressing Square button. Once the player defeats a group of enemies, they must travel further into the level to fight the next infestation.

Defeated enemies drop ‘Energy Cores’, which are used to activate a skill called ‘Heat Axle’. Once this skill is fully charged, the player will receive a 1 minute 2x boost to their stats called ‘Overdrive’. After the 1 minute limit elapses, the player’s ‘Gear Level’ will drop to level 3. The best way to deal damage against the game’s enemies is to fill up the ‘Gear Meter’ that is located at the top right of the screen. The Gear Meter only fills when the player inflicts damage on their enemies or when Heat Axle is used. The Gear Meter depletes over time, so it’s important to be aware of this. Lancier also has a super attack called X Injection. This ability becomes triggered when Lancier’s Overdrive is activated and when her EP is at maximum. When this effect is activated, the player is invincible and capable of dealing massive damage to all nearby enemies.

The game also includes racing missions to help break up the action. These missions typically involve racing against the CPU, and running through groups of ‘Bugs’ to collect power ups. Once collected, these power ups will increase the speed of the player’s vehicle. Unfortunately, the steering mechanics feel a bit stiff. It’s not a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, but it does make some of the sharper turns hard to navigate.

The graphics look decent for a PS Vita game. The character models contain a good amount of detail, but some of the backgrounds appear somewhat bland. Since each level is a highway, they all tend to look the same. Some variety would have been nice.

With those gripes aside, Drive Girls is a decent game with a solid combat system. The ability to transform into a car is also a nice touch. Fans of the hack ‘n slash genre will appreciate the effort that developer Rising Star Games put into this release. The game isn’t perfect, but it’s still a nice addition to the PSVita’s library of games.

Drive Girls Official Website:

Mike Pittaro
Platform: PSVita
Developer: Rising Star Games
Publisher: Aksys Games
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $14.99

Review Score
The graphics look decent for a PS Vita game.
Great sound effects and a decent soundtrack compliment the action
Combat is very similar to the Dynasty Warriors series.
Drive Girls is a decent game with a solid combat system.
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