Death of the Critic

Side Scrolling Shooters

Drifting Lands - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich

Stylized art

Side-scrolling shatters have always been a fun distraction for me, but even after all of these years, they have not broken out of their form. They are fun, and they present. Certain kind of intriguing challenge for us to play with. They are mastery systems laid bare, asking you to learn movements and actions to the extreme so you can fly through a hail of bullets and come out the other side unscathed. It’s no wonder that there are a huge number of side-scrolling shooters that also fall into the “bullet hell” genre, characterized by maze-like arrangements of bullets for you to try to navigate through with split second timing. They are the epitome of control, often giving you only a few pixels of clearance to squeeze through.

Drifting Lands tries to take these established formulas and turn them on their ears by injecting loot and leveling elements to add layers of complexity to the formerly simply design. Before you just had to dodge and shoot, but now you have to manage a cargo-hold/inventory, stat points, color-coded inventory, damage and attack types, all with the change to accidentally lose it at any moment and be thrust back to the beginning of your journey. It seems that along the way towards adding replayability and complexity into the game, they simply went too far.