So what do you get when you take the robots out of Transformers and replace them with cute anime girls? You get Drive Girls, developed by Tamsoft and localized by Aksys Games for the Playstation Vita.
The premise of Drive Girls starts you off as Lancier, who is on her way to take her test to become a member of the Emergency Response Team. She misses the test but is allowed to take a secondary test by the Commander. Little does she know, this test is a tryout for the Drive Girls team. The Drive Girls are a team that protects Sun Island from Bugs, giant insect like robots that mysteriously showed up one day. Apart from Commander, the only other member is a busty car girl named Regalith. During their missions on Sun Island, they run into Galaxa, a resident of the island named who stayed after the island’s evacuation to fight the Bugs, and Seven, the Commander’s replacement after her mysterious disappearance.
The game consists of a series of missions. Each mission is broken down into chapters, which are further split into two parts: story and battles. The story sections are fairly simplistic. If you’ve ever played a visual novel or 2D RPG, you’d be familiar with the layout: static images of the characters in the scene appear and disappear according to the story with a dialogue box at the bottom.
The battle sections start by allowing you to choose any Drive Girl you’ve unlocked. Before starting the battles, you are given the opportunity to outfit your character with an assortment of stickers, items or mods you have either collected during your missions or purchased from the shop. These items enhance your character by upping your stats or provide additional weapons or healing items. Once the mission starts, your objective is to make your way through a linear stage to complete an objective, usually clearing out all the Bugs. You have two basic attacks, as well as a special, which differs based on which girl you choose. Gameplay style is similar to a hack and slash type game. Occasionally the mission will consist of a race between which ever character you choose and another one of the girls.
Drive Girls is a pretty average game whose gameplay is better than its story. One of the biggest issues with the game, however, is its repetitiveness. A block of about three or four chapters share the same location on the island. This in itself wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t for the fact each mission uses the exact same layout, or if the layouts are different, offer very little differences. This repetition in the level designs caused the game to feel dull as everything felt the same. The only other problem I had was controlling the camera. As with most games, movement is controlled by the left stick and camera with the right. The issue is that since it is a fast moving game, the enemies usually leave your view quite often. This can be resolved using the enemy lock-on function, which, is never mentioned during the tutorial sections. Also, for being called Drive Girls, I didn’t find myself doing a whole lot of driving.
Drive Girls isn’t a bad game per se, it just never reaches past average. Camera issues, and lack of diverse level layouts prevent me from really recommending it at full price. Then again, I’ve spent more money on worse games. It is however, worth a look if you catch it on sale.