Off-Road Drive is a technical driving simulation, but not in the same sense as a Gran Turismo or Forza Motorsports-style driving sim. While the latter two games would have you testing your driving skills on the asphalt, Off-Road Drive is about testing a very different set of skills where the “blacktop” ends. Extreme 4x4 racing is the order of the day; you’ll get to race in a variety of rallies and events set in locations around the world. As you earn points in your races, you rank up, unlocking new vehicles, parts, tires, etc. and enabling you to enter more difficult events. Events vary widely in type, from mud bogging to rock climbing to off-road technical courses, and each requires its own strategy and mindset. Thankfully, before each race, you are given the opportunity to tune your chosen vehicle to optimize it for a particular event. All of this is pretty standard for a racing sim, though, and I’m willing to bet you’re itching to get some mud on the tires already, right? In that case, strap in cause it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Off-Road Drive does a good job providing an accurate sense of just how tough off-road racing actually is. On the tutorial level alone, the player is introd
uced to ten different tools and techniques at their disposal, ranging from the obvious four-wheel drive to shuttle driving to the tire compressor. Each new tool is accompanied by a written and narrated intro, which I recommend listening to, as it’s easy to get lost if you don’t. Once you hammer out the basics, the events themselves each present unique challenges demanding very different skills; as I found out, just hold
ing down the gas is probably the quickest way to lose. Strategy is key to most events; due to the realistic physics engine, getting your 4x4 hopelessly stuck in mud, sand, or a bog is a very real possibility if you don’t plan well. While this certainly makes the game that much more realistic as a sim, even a minor mistake can often force a cheap race restart. This gets frustrating very quickly, actually pulling me out of the immersion. Thankfully, the game will give on-screen prompts from time-to-time with hints about what to do, like “lock differentials” or “shift into low gear,” but even these will not always save you from a needing a do-over.