GENSOU Skydrift is a racing game by illuCalab, lead by an ex-Nintendo employee, set in the Touhou Project universe. With 20 characters, 16 tracks to race on, and a full-fledged story mode: GENSOU Skydrift provides loads of content.
The game is a much more skill-based affair when compared to games such as Mario Kart due to its mechanics. Instead of sheer luck and position determining the items the player receives, this game opts for a magic gauge that fills over time and after carrying out successful manoeuvres. Playing well, directly rewards the player, which feels much more fulfilling than simply being another victim of bad odds.
The art style of GENSOU Skydrift is very charming and all the characters are done justice. Character models are simple, but they get the job done. Track visuals, however, can be pretty rough. Some effects such as fog can even be an obstruction on certain tracks.
A true tribute to Touhou Project, this game has a phenomenal soundtrack. Remixes abound and they’re all great spins on time-honoured classics. From Lost Bamboo Thicket to Hakugyokuro and Embers of Blazing Hell (remixes of Lunatic Princess & History of the moon; Bloom Nobly, Ink-Black Cherry Blossom ~ Border of Life; and Solar Sect of Mystic Wisdom ~ Nuclear Fusion respectively), the OST is truly killer. The original songs are quite the stand-outs as well!
The gameplay revolves around using two characters at once, similar to Mario Kart: Double Dash. Each character has their own magic gauge and item slot, so switching is an important part of skilled play. Switching causes the player to be unable to steer for a short time, but provides a small boost, so timing is key.
Each of the tracks provides a wholly unique layout, and learning each one is both challenging and rewarding. Though a few tracks suffer from odd collision detection. More than once, I’ve found my characters trapped in a corner and unable to proceed. Although these moments are relatively few and far between.
Despite a small player base, the Switch and Steam versions have crossplay. This is a much-appreciated attempt to maximize the player pool. But with that being said, you’ll probably have to get used to seeing the same few names in your matches. Touhou Project is just too niche for a thriving online player base.
GENSOU Skydrift has its fair share of problems, but these imperfections do little to distract me from the fun time I’ve had with it. With great stages, stellar music, and satisfying gameplay, I recommend this game to any Touhou Project or kart racing fans.