We Don’t Get Initial D Games In The West, But Drift Spirits Tries To Look Like One



We may not get Initial D games in the West, but Bandai Namco’s Drift Spirits looks like it’s attempting to replicate the look and feel of that franchise, at least aesthetically. The smartphone title has been available in Japan for a while now, and is now available in the West for Android devices.


As the title suggests, Drift Spirits maintains a focus on drifting, similar to Namco’s Ridge Racer games—only, it isn’t a full-fledged racing game. Like Initial D: Perfect Shift Online, the game simplifies its racing controls down to one or two simple ideas that are more about timing than steering. In Drift Spirits, this is the idea of performing a perfect drift.


Cars move by themselves in Drift Spirits, but when you approach a turn, you’re required to touch and hold your finger against your smartphone screen. Depending on your timing as your car goes into the turn, your drift could range from poor to excellent. It’s that simple, so it naturally isn’t for everyone, but it is fun to tool around with when you aren’t in the mood for a more serious game.


Drift Spirits features a wide range of popular cars from well-known Japanese manufacturers, and yes, there are cars from Initial D in there, too, such as the AE86. As of now, Drift Spirits includes 40 car models to choose from, with a focus on Japanese vehicles in particular. Once you’ve found a ride you like, you can also choose to customize it using a variety of parts that can be obtained throughout the game. In celebration of the game’s overseas launch, Namco have also increased the number of overseas models they’re including in the game.


Drift Spirits is available now, as a free-to-play game. You can find more information on its official website. If this doesn’t look like your cup of tea, there’s also the fantastic Ridge Racer Slipstream (which is a proper racer), although that game is no longer being updated.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.