Skip to main content

Being a sloth on a longboard is one big, chill vibe

Flash, a-ha.

An illustrative picture from behind of a sloth on a longboard riding down a hill, and sliding out as they come up to a corner. Looks dangerous. Looks cool.
Image credit: Stoked Sloth Interactive

Driftwood is a brand new game about being a sloth on a longboard and rolling down steep roads very quickly. It's a game about being fast but, equally, it's a game about being slow - a game about taking it easy and not getting too worked up about things. A game to relax with.

Driftwood hit Steam Early Access at the beginning of June, and here, Donlan and Bertie take a look.

Chris: Are you familiar with the fact that sloths are having a bit of a moment? Their latent start power has been acknowledged. My daughter's absolutely obsessed, and you can't go on TikTok without seeing a sloth yawning or squeaking or falling out of a tree. Are you a fan?

Bertie: I didn't know this! I actually haven't thought much about the game actually being about a sloth. I mean, there's Flash in Zootopia, who's a legend. But I'm more concerned about the longboarding at the moment - is that what it's even called? To me, there's something quintessentially 90s about it, and San Francisco about it. That's what they all do out there I think?

Ready, Eddy? Go.Watch on YouTube

Chris: Yes, that and weed. It's fascinating - so in Driftwood you play a longboarding sloth. It's this arcadey sports game, and the fact that you're a sloth both does and does not matter. It doesn't add much to things mechanically, but it's also never out of your mind: I'm on this longboard and I'm a sloth. So it's completely unimportant and utterly central to the whole game. It's certainly, I suspect, a big part of why we're discussing it, so it's done its job.

It's also just a good video game I think? I read Graham writing about this on RPS, and I think he was saying how lovely it was to have an arcade game like this that wasn't about jumps. This is much more about getting the curves right, making the most of each bend, controlling speed, and of course keeping the combo going. What do you make of it so far?

A sloth skating down a road on a hill as the sun sets, bathing everything orange. It looks serene but it's very dangerous so don't try this at home. Or do - it looks quite fun.
90 km/h my dudes! It my look serene but it's very dangerous and Eddy isn't even wearing a helmet. | Image credit: Stoked Sloth Interactive / Eurogamer

Bertie: Ooh I like it. And I think I get the whole sloth thing too: it's a relaxing game, a game about slowing down mentally, about not thinking about too much, and maybe the sloth represents that? This game sure is some chill vibes. I especially like the music.

I tell you what, though, I'm not very good at controlling my speed. I get what Graham's saying but I am not that person. I am all about going as fast as I can all the time, and it's not making me a very good sloth downhiller. Maybe I should chill out some more.

I guess my worry with games like Driftwood is how much there will be to sustain me. I also worry, in Driftwood's case, whether the extreme speeds I can reach will take me out of the sedate natural setting the game is in. Then again, I'm not feeling that so far. I can really feel the exhilaration of bombing down and the wind against me, and even though I crash a lot, it doesn't seem to bother me. You know, it reminds me a lot of OlliOlli.

How are you finding the challenge and the structure of it all?

A black and white picture of a sloth skater twisting through the air. They have crashed, and they were going very fast.
That's what happens, Eddy. That's what happens. | Image credit: Stoked Sloth Interactive / Eurogamer.

Chris: I know what you mean! I'm finding that the easiest way to think of it at the moment is as if it's a weird Burnout mod. Burnout's about driving badly, but driving badly well, and the combo system here has a bit of that. Swing close to oncoming traffic to build points, and then work out how to keep those points alive - flying through leaves, taking risks. It's this stuff that allows me to sort of keep a purchase on it when the game becomes just that bit too fast for me to handle.

The OlliOlli thing is a fascinating idea - were you a fan?

Bertie: I was! I think I particularly liked how it offered you more things to do but didn't require them. It's a bit like you said, actually: there's a lot more stuff you see that you can do, and points that you can accrue, by drifting and spinning around and generally being daring, but you don't have to do those things. Those things, you can leave to later, if you want. I thought OlliOlli did that really well: dangled the temptation of perfection at you.

Oh I also like the little in-between campervan section where you drive up to your next stop - your next level - and the extra boards and wheels that unlock. It's one big vibe, really, isn't it?

Chris: Yes! I think that's it. Being a sloth on a longboard is one big vibe. Lovely stuff!

Read this next