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KartRider: Drift Guide: Tips, Tricks & Strategies to Dominate Every Race Track

While there are numerous racing and car combat games in the earlier years of video games, the most recognized as far as kart racing is concerned is Super Mario Kart, which was released for the Super Nintendo back in 1992 and deemed by many fans as the title that revolutionized the competitive battle racing game genre. Now with over 15 titles in the series, the game series’ critical and commercial success has been considered the main comparison for other kart racing titles that have been developed over the years.

KartRider: Drift is Nexon’s second installment of the KartRider series of games with KartRider Rush+ being the first. Though easily comparable to the Mario Kart series of games, the drivers, karts, power-ups, and even the gameplay mechanics themselves give KartRider: Drift its unique feel and personality. KartRider: Drift is not exclusively available for Android and iOS devices as it also boasts cross-play compatibility with its PC version.

kartrider drift guide

Like any competitive combat racing game, KartRider: Drift is one of those games that are very easy to learn yet truly challenging to master. Knowing what to do as far as the base mechanics go will only take a matter of minutes but perfecting accuracy and timing as well as knowing each track like the back of your mind will take hours after hours of training.

kartrider drift joy

What makes KartRider: Drift fun and exciting for a wide variety of players is that you do not necessarily have to take the top spot in the race to enjoy it. This especially applies to the duo and team modes where even an inexperienced or unlucky player can still win with the help of his partner or teammates.

If you have just jumped into the kart racing craze or even if you are an experienced one about to test your skills in KartRider: Drift, you came to the right place. Our KartRider: Drift Guide is packed with tips, tricks and strategies to dominate every race track and beat every challenge!

kartrider drift rankings

1. Master The Basics Of KartRider: Drift

The initial tutorial session in KartRider: Drift perfectly captures the basics even for complete newbies. As quick and effective as the tutorial is, it certainly will not make you instantly competitive. Surely enough, you can control your kart well enough to move forward, use items, and perhaps even drift in certain curves on the track. By design, the introductory tutorial helps you get started on what you should know but there is still plenty to learn in KartRider: Drift, especially if you aim to dominate every race you partake in.

kartrider drift tutorial complete

For the benefit of the uninitiated when it comes to kart racing games like KartRider: Drift, there are basic gameplay mechanics that stand consistent across these games. As a racing game above all, you are expected to reach the finish line ahead of everyone else. A race is hardly just a run around the track and in the case of KartRider: Drift, the finish line is at the end of the third lap.

kartrider drift race results

Although skill and efficiency in conventional races are partly measured by precision in terms of where you position yourself on every part of the track, the drift and boost feature central to the gameplay mechanics of KartRider: Drift often proves to be the more valuable skill to master. Identifying the best spots to be on every sector of the track is still very helpful no doubt, but given that racing is only part of base gameplay mechanics, you have to learn to utilize all other tools at your disposal.

kartrider drift drift boost

The start boost and drift boost are just a few of the tricks you have under your sleeve in KartRider: Drift. Part of what makes every race fun and exciting are the random items that every racer can pick up. As these weapons and tools can heavily impact the outcome of each race, you have to be accustomed to each one in terms of how to use them and how to defend yourself against some of them. Although the randomness attributable to item pickups can make it appear that race results are influenced by luck, overall skills considering all of the above still matter more.

kartrider drift start boost

It might be unexpected for even experienced kart racing game enthusiasts, but KartRider: Drift incorporates the slipstreaming effect in the game. For the uninitiated, slipstreaming can take place when a racer is directly aligned with the one in front of him and gains extra speed as air resistance is largely reduced by the car in front. You will notice a wind effect on your kart as well as the increased speed when you are slipstreaming thanks to the kart ahead of you.

kartrider drift power-up

Although obtaining power-ups from the item pick-up points is random and it seems very challenging to predict the items you get, your actual position on the track does impact the probability of some items you can nab. It might not seem unfair to some, but the probability changes relative to getting items makes it more probable for those behind the line to catch up and for those ahead to not be complacent with their position.

For example, if you are in the lead position, you will almost always obtain shields from the item pick-up points. Shields, after all, are more beneficial to protect yourself from the karts behind you even if some of their items will spawn ahead of you. It would appear as well that the Thunderbolt power-up only appears to those karts occupying the last positions. One of the reasons there is an Item Mode and Speed Mode in KartRider: Drift is for the latter to have less consideration of luck as it only gives you Nitrous for items.

kartrider drift second lap

KartRider: Drift strays from conventional kart games on mobile, including its previous incarnation, KartRider Rush+, by making every character and every kart equal. Karts in other kart racing games have different rarities that determine their stats while characters can have different perks, with some having better buffs than others. While some players may contest that making every character and kart similar to one another in terms of performance delimits variety, it is also a strong means of promoting skill as the basis of performance instead of spending capacity.

There are plenty of characters and character variants as well as karts to collect and unlock but each one is purely cosmetic. As far as customizations go, there are liveries and emoticons to unlock and customize for your character and kart as well. In any case, and even with similar performances across all characters and karts, KartRider: Drift still has more than enough customization options to ensure that any 2 players will not likely have the same kart and character after customization.

kartrider drift wheels

2. Tinker With The Settings

As KartRider: Drift is a racing game, it becomes natural to expect that you would want to burn rubber as soon as you run the app. With the initial tutorial session only giving you a quick taste of driving across a fraction of the track, the itch to test your mettle on a racing session can only become stronger after completing it. There is nothing to stop you from engaging in your first race as soon as you are freely able to, but we recommend checking the settings first.

You can access the settings via the gear icon at the upper right corner of the main screen. The pull-up menu holds another settings option that finally takes you to where you can customize controls and various aspects of the game. By default, you can expect that the preset options are deemed most suitable for every player.

kartrider drift driving settings

However, general considerations are likewise expected to not fully appeal to every person, given each one’s unique tastes and preferences. As such, and in as much as the default settings may aptly appeal to you, you should still consider peeking into it and making the necessary adjustments as you see fit.

The Gameplay Settings is where you tinker with basic driving and control configurations. Although you will be made to choose between Automatic and Original control settings on your first run of the game, this is where you can make changes to your initial decision.

There is an option for Auto-Steering and Auto-Accelerate under the driving settings. Although Auto-Accelerate cannot be turned off on mobile devices, you can always choose to enable Auto-Steering, which helps keep your kart at the center of the track when you are not pressing any directional buttons.

kartrider drift controls

The Controls Settings is where you can choose from among several preset buttons and display layouts or make your very own. Type A and B stands as the default setups and its mirror version and type C splits directional buttons on opposing edges of the screen along with a drift button for both sides. The Custom Type should probably be what you want to spend time on as this allows for a fully personalized layout.

The Graphics Settings may be a concern for you if you feel that your device is struggling with the default configurations. You can always opt to tone down FPS rates, particularly for Driving. Boost Wind Effect, Textures, Graphics Details, Shadows, Character Quality Optimization, Aspect Ratio, and even Anti-Aliasing options are among the other graphics-related options you can consider making adjustments to.

kartrider drift graphics settings

You can revisit the settings several times in the course of your adventure. What you should normally do after making changes is to give it a practice run in either the Item Mode or Speed Mode. You can always opt to make changes until you have the best settings for you. There is even a Reset button for when you want to revert to the default settings.

3. Master The Use Of Each Item

Save for the Nitrous, which is demonstrated as part of the introductory tutorial, you will not be given any proper introduction to the plethora of items you can pick up on the tracks. Although some can be easily understood as soon as you use them, some do require a little explanation to understand their effects. Likewise knowing what an item does is just half of what you need to know as strategizing on their best usage as well as potential dangers they can bring to you and your teammates.

The Nitrous gives you a quick speed boost and can certainly help catch up positions when you are behind or even widen the gap between you and your opponents if you are ahead. While this item seems as basic as it comes, maximizing its effects can be attributed to timing.

kartrider drift nitrous

For starters, you certainly should consider using it on a fairly straight line as it would be difficult to manage completing turns while boosting. Although you sometimes need to use it to cut ahead of the traffic, be sure to avoid hitting other racers as it would impede the speed boost to a great extent.

The Banana Peel works very much as it does in other popular kart racing titles. Using the banana peel will leave it behind and racers who drive on it will spin out of control. Banana peels can cause your allies to spin out as well and if every other racer manages to avoid it, there is a chance that you will run over it on the next lap. For efficiency, it is best to drop banana peels in spots where it is sure to catch other racers off guard. More so, consider deploying it in strategic locations where it can cause the most damaging results.

kartrider drift banana peel

The Barricade lets you drop 3 barricades ahead of the track. It poses danger not just to all other karts but to you as well. Barricades will always drop with a consistent alignment, where one will be at the dead center or middle of the track and the 2 others on each side of it. Hitting a barricade results in a tremendous slowdown close to a full stop and these barricades will remain for as long as no one hits them.

kartrider drift barricade

The Missile is an item that requires you to press the item button twice. The first one is to mark any target ahead of you and the second one is to fire the heat-seeking missile on the target. If you happen to have your sights on another target on your second button press, the missile will miss.

kartrider drift missile

The Magnet certainly is a weird utility tool you would often see in endless running games. In KartRider: Drift, activating the magnet pulls a target kart close to you. As useful as it is when you are behind someone, it can be tricky to take advantage of the situation when you manage to pull another kart close to yours.

kartrider drift magnet

The Water Bomb lets you throw a ball of water ahead of the track and karts that get tangled within its area of effect are immobilized and locked within a water bubble prison. Note that the Water Bomb can incapacitate more than 1 kart at a time.

kartrider drift water bomb

If you ever wonder about the fairy icon on the item slots, then you have randomly picked a Water Wisp. This weapon works much like the Water Bomb but only captures a target kart ahead of you. Despite having lower incapacitating capability than the Water Bomb, being able to target and ensure you won’t fall victim to your weapon makes it an equally viable option.

kartrider drift water wisp

The UFO will allow you to unleash a flying saucer that immediately targets the kart in the first place. It will certainly be wasted if you are in the top spot but a definite weapon of choice if you are behind. The UFO will use a tractor beam on the leading kart and slow it down tremendously for the duration of its effect.

kartrider drift ufo

The Thunderbolt is the power-up that can cause the most mayhem as it lets you strike all other karts with lightning, spinning them around and slowing them down. You are not likely to randomly obtain the Thunderbolt from the item pick-up points if there are only a few karts ahead of you. Falling farther behind increases the chances of you nabbing it.

kartrider drift thunderbolt

Perhaps among the most common yet indispensable items in KartRider: Drift, the Force Field is a defensive tool that immunizes you from almost all other item effects up on this list. If you are leading the pack, chances are that you will nab this almost all the time, and for good reason. Staying in the lead means having a lot more sights on you so Force Fields will be the most important item to have. Force Fields only last a short duration, which means that you need to master timing its activation.

kartrider drift force field

The Force Field will not protect you from everything as that would be overpowered. KartRider: Drift, however, provides a Row Boat item and a UFO Repellant you can occasionally obtain as well. These items immunize you from the effects of both the Water Wisp and the Water Bomb and the UFO, respectively, letting you pass through water bubbles and UFOs if activated at the right time.

kartrider drift row boat

For Duo and Team Modes of play, you can also obtain the Angel Shield, which works very much like the Force Field but activates a shield for your entire team. Timing its usage can be tricky but with 2 or 4 of you on the same team, you would want to consider activating it when you need protection and just consider the short effects for the rest of the team as a bonus.

kartrider drift angel shield

Knowing what each item can do and identifying the perfect timing of its activation can spell the difference between winning or losing the race. Not only should you make it a point to utilize the items you have at the best possible sectors and times on the track, but you should also make it a point as much as possible that both item slots are loaded. Additionally, activating an item to discard them should also form part of your strategy and the best time to do this is when you are about to touch an item box.

4. Engage In Practice Modes

KartRider: Drift should give you a first impression that it is a highly competitive game and, by that, you can expect some PvP action on the race track. In a sense, there is plenty of fun and excitement to be gained from competing with bots or A.I. opponents but the ultimate test of wits and skills lies in PvP competitions.

Some newer players tend to have apprehensions about engaging in races against other players and it is only natural. Again, win or lose, KartRider: Drift can make every race you partake in an enjoyable one so race for fun above all else.

kartrider drift result

Before you prove your driving and combat skills against other players, whether via the Item Mode or the Speed Mode, we recommend getting more experience on either game mode first by choosing practice mode first and honing your skills against bot opponents. When choosing either Item Mode or Speed Mode under the available game modes in KartRider: Drift, there is a Practice Mode that you can tick “On” at the upper right side of the page.

kartrider drift item mode

You can also choose between 3 levels of Track Difficulty in these modes as well as enable or disable Solo, Duo, or Squad game modes. As you will not be able to select tracks to race on, be ready to take on 1 of 7 to 8 different race tracks per difficulty level. As you continue to engage in practice sessions, your most basic goal is to secure a good grip on the controls, particularly mastering the art of not bumping into walls and barriers and performing drifts whenever possible.

kartrider drift track difficulty

Additionally, practice sessions should also be your training grounds when it comes to mastering the art of using power-up items as well as successfully defending yourself from them when opportunities to do so arise. Given the random elements of securing power-ups, it takes a lot of racing experience to even set proper expectations depending on your position on the track.

Finally, any racing game fan should consider it a basic necessity to ultimately know every race track like the back of their hand. As challenging as it already is to completely memorize a race track from one end to another, the other challenge relates to race sessions taking place on random tracks.

kartrider drift glacier icebreaker pass

Race tracks in KartRider: Drift are different compared with more conventional race tracks or ones based on real life. In almost every race track, expect there to be sectors that provide alternative routes. These alternative routes can be considered shortcuts by some but these will typically be more challenging to traverse than the usual route.

5. Play Through License And Time Attack Modes

With every race session you engage in, even in Practice Mode, and even if you do not readily feel the results, the actual racing experience you get leads to an improved performance on the next one. It can happen that you will experience lower finishing positions on latter race sessions, but with luck and probability being perennial factors, it does not necessarily mean that you are not improving.

kartrider drift practice

Going through practice races is just one of the many challenges to take to improve your racing performance in KartRider: Drift and help you become the undisputed king of every race track. KartRider: Drift’s Item Mode and Speed Mode ultimately let you hone your skills further when you step into PvP mode and take on other players. Although you can expect that there will be fewer and more experienced players than yourself, the unpredictability of how each one will behave during the race makes it already more challenging.

KartRider: Drift has the License and Time Attack Modes to add to the list of challenges to conquer. Each one offers a completely different set of challenges for you to undertake, but all the same, ensure that you will become an even better driver based on your accomplishments. We encourage you to engage in races with other players once you feel confident and comfortable enough after the practice sessions. However, engaging in both License and Time Attack Modes, even intermittently, can further enhance your supposedly already improved skills.

kartrider drift license mode

The License Mode is a measure of progression in KartRider: Drift. You will basically start with no license and must complete challenges to obtain a B2 License, then a B1 License, and finally an L3 License. Each new license you obtain unlocks new tracks for you to master and each challenge you conquer within each license test also earns you rewards.

kartrider drift license challenges

License Challenges are not all about racing and are typically a weird yet exciting mix of tests that are aimed to improve various skills. For the B2 License Challenges, as an example, the first challenge tests your ability to time the usage of the Water Ball. Some challenges can improve your aim with the Rocket as well as test your quick reflexes on a race track with tons of barriers.

kartrider drift challenge

Time Attack Mode is split into 2 sub-game modes where the first one lets you keep improving your best time on each track by having you set a record that you should aim to beat with a better race time. Once you have amassed confidence with your best record in the Time Attack Mode, you can proceed to the Ranked Challenge and see how your time fares against all other player times.

kartrider drift time attack mode

6. Complete The Objectives

Given that even the rarest of character variants and karts in KartRider: Drift is purely cosmetic, collecting them, along with the emotes and liveries will not yield better karts and drivers. Still, a lot of the rewards you can get from accomplishments in the License Challenges are proof of your level of skill and determination.

kartrider drift kart wheels

In addition to the rewards you can get off of the License Challenges, there are plenty more rewards you can claim from objectives and events in KartRider: Drift. One of these is the Daily Challenges that have you go through a series of races and while some of these require specific types and modes of races to partake in, simply spending time on races ensures your progression for the challenges. For efficiency in clearing challenges, though, it is best to tap on the trophy icon on the bottom part of the home screen to view the trio of daily targets.

kartrider drift daily challenges

Trophies earned here count towards progression on the Racing Pass, where accumulated trophies increase your level and net you various rewards. Lucci, K-Coins, and various customization items can be earned with each new level reached and just to entice you further into climbing up the milestone levels, you can view all the rewards for each level ahead of the line.

kartrider drift racing pass

The Smiles for Miles limited event starts as soon as you fire up the game and time spent online earns you rewards at every milestone. Like some perks and freebies in KartRider: Drift, you do not necessarily have to rack up wins on every race just to keep getting rewards and new customization items to enhance your gameplay experience.

kartrider drift smiles for miles

Rewards earned may not necessarily end up in your garage so be sure to check your mail via the envelope icon at the upper right side of the screen to claim them. Do note that some rewards may expire if left unclaimed within a set period.

kartrider drift mail

And that’s about it for our KartRider: Drift Guide. We hope that the simple tips and strategies we shared and discussed will suffice to take your racing skills to the next level and pave the way toward becoming an ace kart racer across all of the game modes. If you happen to have tips, tricks, or strategies you want to share, don’t hesitate to share them with us in the comments!