Drifting Lands

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Drifting Lands Game Poster Image
Sci-fi shoot 'em up packs lots of action/adventure depth.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

There's a lot of shady dealings going on, but still a general theme of working together as a community for the greater good to overcome obstacles, retain a sense of freedom, independence.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although many characters you meet seem to have their own motivations, rarely see eye to eye, they're able to put aside their differences to work together to greater goal of maintaining safety, security, freedom of their community.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, but difficulty of stages ramps up quickly. Also, managing your ships' equipment, stats, etc. can be a bit overwhelming, especially due to lack of description for function of each. For example, you usually have no idea exactly how a weapon fires until you equip it, play through a stage.

Violence

There's a lot of shooting, but it's very arcade style sci-fi shooting against robot ships. There are explosions, but no blood.

Sex
Language

Some profanity, such as "damn," "s--t", occasionally shows up in dialogue between missions.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters shown smoking, there are references to drinking throughout game.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Drifting Lands is a downloadable arcade/action role-playing game (RPG) shooter. Players pilot a spaceship through waves of robot ships, constantly shooting them down while dodging return fire. There's lots of action, but generally light violence without blood or gore. The game can be a bit complicated and difficult in later stages, as well as when customizing your ship, relying more on a "try it and see" attitude than in-depth descriptions. The story's dialogue does feature some profanity, and there are references to drinking and smoking with some characters.

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What's it about?

DRIFTING LANDS tells a tale of a world that's fallen apart, figuratively and literally. Centuries ago, as society was on the brink of collapse, a global cataclysm tore the planet to pieces. In time, those that survived found their way back to find the broken remnants of the planet floating together, a shattered globe still capable of providing a new home to humanity. Unfortunately, these settlers weren't the only ones who saw a new opportunity. Corporations have taken control and named themselves as the law of the land. As a part of the Ark, a colonist ship manned by a ragtag group of mercenaries, smugglers, and other outcasts, you'll fly your customized fighter against the robotic armies of the corporations, protecting your community and, with a little luck and a lot of skill, taking back your home.

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Why is the violence against artificial, robot enemies in arcade space shooters like Drifting Lands less impactful than shooters involving more realistic, human enemies? 

  • Talk about community. How can people of various beliefs, backgrounds, and personalities come together for a common goal?

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