Drifting Lands is an interesting beast, an attempt to fuse two generally separate genres into an interesting hybrid with very little clashing between the two genres. The game itself looks to try and blend the best of both side scrolling shoot em up’s (not unlike r-type) and collect em up RPG’s (like Diablo) into a pretty functional mix that will keep you entertained for quite a while.

The main idea of the game is to work through a series of missions, collecting items and money as you go and using these pickups to upgrade and improve your ship as well as increase your capabilities via new weapons and a surprisingly large skill tree that you will be able to work through while playing.

The skill tree itself is worthy of some description. It has a very large amount of granularity to it as it starts with some very basic and useful skills then increases to more useful skills that will require a far higher skill level of the player to use. These are broken down into three areas: basic active, advanced active and passive skills. You can only carry a limited amount of these into every level so it can lead to a lot of experimentation to find the right fit for what you are looking to do in each level.

Upgrading and improving your ship is also quite expansive, as you use credits earned via each mission (as well as loot you pick up there) to upgrade your ship or craft new items if you have the blueprints to do so. This was surprisingly well done and feeds into the loop of wanting to get more loot to upgrade your ship to get the most out of it.

The game itself plays well, the controls are quite tight (as you would expect for a game that can border on near bullet hell levels of enemy fire on screen) and this leads to a very fun experience overall as you are zipping through enemies and their bullets to get the right angle to survive and get the most kills to get more loot.

You do have to show some restraint though, if you do take too much damage your ship will either explode or, if you have the auto retreat skill, bug out, leaving all the loot you gained from that level behind, leading to an interesting balance of trying to be as daring as you can be without becoming Icarus and flying too close to losing all that precious loot.

Overall it is a very interesting game with some engaging and deep mechanics. I am not sure of the longevity of the game as I feel it might get a bit samey for some on later levels. That being said you will not regret any time spent playing the game and I highly recommend giving it a go.

A solid 8 out of 10 – well worth a look.