Sometimes two things that appeal to completely different tastes somehow come together and create a satisfying treat. It happened with peanut butter and chocolate, with chicken and waffles, and with deep fried and … anything. Now it's happened again with Drifting Lands, a sci-fi game that blends together equal parts shoot 'em up and role-playing genres. On the surface, the game feels like a basic side scrolling shooter, with players testing their reflexes by flying around, dodging bullets, mines, and all manner of robotic enemy ships as they fill the screen. This is the type of gameplay that would be right at home in an old school arcade. You don't need to feed an endless supply of quarters into this one, though, which is great considering that its steadily increasing difficulty would end up costing a college tuition's worth of coins.
While the shooting side of Drifting Lands is pretty straightforward and easy to pick up, things get a lot more complex over on the RPG side of the game. Between missions, you'll have to sort through the loot you've picked up along the way, deciding what to sell, what to keep, and what to break down into "blueprints" to improve upon. You'll also need to purchase and equip a number of unique skills that become accessible as you level up. The problem here is that every piece of equipment you get can alter your fighter is significant ways. Some of these pieces also have specific stat requirements to use. All of this requires a lot of tinkering in the Hangar and wheeling and dealing over in the Shop. Unfortunately, there's no option to take your customized ship on a test flight to try out any new gear or skills. This forces players to sometimes dive into missions with absolutely no idea how their ship will operate. Eventually, through trial and error, you start to pick up on how different weapons and skills operate and which enemies are vulnerable to what types of damage, but there's nothing more frustrating than finding out your ill-equipped for a particular mission after you're already in the thick of it. That being said, if you stick with it, Drifting Lands has plenty of action for space fans to explore.