If you like the idea of a beat 'em up / racing game hybrid with transforming ladies then here's a game for you. Drive Girls may feature an interesting blend of genres but does it result in good times?
Drive Girls has you control an assortment of girls who transform into cars. The first of which is the absentminded Lancier who's new to the whole scene. Throughout her adventure, she'll meet four more girls who you can choose to control instead. It's a silly premise for a game but one that seems like it could offer unique and enjoyable gameplay.
You play Drive Girls by hacking and slashing through hordes of mechanical insect invaders. It kind of reminded me of Earth Defense Force but with melee attacks as opposed to aiming and shooting. Anyway, you can transform into a car to drive over enemies and perform vehicle-specific attacks. In fact, some missions strictly have you race against an opponent. Whether you're fighting or racing, the controls are easy to learn which makes Drive Girls a simple game to pick up and play. The question is; would you ever want to?
Unfortunately, the combat is incredibly tedious. After progressing just a little bit into the campaign, you'll notice that enemies begin to have ridiculously large health meters. Therefore, taking them out quickly begins to feel like a chore. Not only that, the stage designs don't differ all that much from each other. You primarily just fight on suspended highways and the only significant thing that changes is the background scenery which, let's face it; you won't even be looking at anyway. Mashing the attack buttons and performing the odd special move can only be fun for so long before it all starts feeling repetitive. To make matters worse, once you start getting your ass kicked (which will eventually happen rather often), it's excruciating having to replay lengthy stages all over again.
All of that being said, I found the racing to be a lot more enjoyable but that's still not saying much. If these racing stages were on the original PlayStation then they would be considered average at best. It definitely has an arcade vibe that I dig but there really isn't much to it that makes it unique. Just like the combat, it's uninspired and pretty lame albeit much more playable.
On the plus side, you can play Drive Girls cooperatively either through an AdHoc connection or the PlayStation Network. Unfortunately, I didn't find anyone else online but it is great that the option exists. Another cool addition is that you can customize the girls which changes their appearance as well as their base stats. Earning money then buying a variety of upgrades and heal items is fairly rewarding stuff. However, if you want more capable equipment then you have to trade pieces via an annoying menu that simply doesn't display enough information. Is it really too much to ask that I can actually see which pieces I already own?
As I've mentioned, Drive Girls' stages are repetitive and unvaried. When you combine this with the stereotypical cast of characters, you're left with an unmemorable game world that you'd likely not visit more than a few times. I had high hopes that Drive Girls would include a good amount of crazy scenarios and charm but it severely lacks when it comes to offering an appealing world.
Although Drive Girls looks like it could provide some crazy action and a charming world, it ultimately lacks in both of these categories. Instead, you're left with a subpar blend of beat 'em up combat and racing that feels like it belongs in the bargain bin.
- + Simple gameplay that's easy to learn
- + Includes cooperative multiplayer
- + Rewarding unlockable upgrades
- - Combat is tedious, unvaried, and downright frustrating at times
- - Driving is uninspired and lame
- - Unmemorable world and characters