Preview – Disney Speedstorm (Early Access)

Early Access has been a phrase that gets thrown around a little too much these days. And just like Dreamlight Valley, Disney Speedstorm races its way onto platforms under that label as well. Even with a few bugs on the initial release, Dreamlight Valley was a quality product right out of the gate. I’m here to tell you that the same can be said for Disney Speedstorm. Gameloft is known for its numerous mobile games but has shifted its focus to modern platforms. The monkey’s paw situation, however, means that microtransactions, a battle pass, and other mobile trappings are a major part of the experience. Thus, the method by which these titles are released may be disgusting to interested players.

Mickey, the Roadster Racer.

If you want to jump into Disney Speedstorm, you’ll need to purchase one of the founder’s packs that give players a varying number of racers and a few early unlock options if your favorite isn’t included. There is no word on how long this Early Access period with stretch, and Dreamlight Valley is still in the same phase as well. Players will have to wait until both games reach their 1.0 state before they will become free to play. I’ve played enough of Speedstorm to tell you that the grind for shards and other resources does not feel egregious at all as I’ve already unlocked a handful of new racers. My one concern right now is that I’m unsure of what content will stay exclusive to the game’s battle pass and shifting seasons.

I want to reiterate that Disney Speedstorm is a quality video game. It is a kart racer that takes inspiration from the likes of Mario Kart, Crash Team Racing, and Team Sonic Racing. You’ll take control of your favorite Disney characters to drift, boost, and fire weapons at your opponents. Race tracks are located on various Disney worlds and come in multiple layouts that keep the experience from getting boring. My favorite track features a classic movie theater that has racers driving into the colorless world of Steamboat Willie. The first season is Monsters Inc themed, featuring tracks in which we get to race through the factory which transitions into the Himalayas for part of the race. The settings are the standout here, but the courses are littered with some fun turns and shortcuts.

“We doing one of them How-To movies again?”

The core racing requires players to drift and perform tricks to fill a boost meter, which is pretty standard for the genre these days. What surprised me most is the depth of the items/weapons at each racer’s disposal. Each character is tied to a specific class—speedster, brawler, and trickster. Each class has a particular set of offensive and defensive items they pick up along with a character-specific ability. What these items do depends on whether you launch it forward, backward, or charge it. One of my favorite character abilities is from Mike Wizowski; he drops down doors to drive through to gain some extra distance. When an opponent tries to follow, it sets them back a few paces. Some of the devs must be huge Burnout fans too, because it’s a treat to watch the takedown-style camera focus on an opponent that became victim to one of your items.

Don’t let a door hit you on the way out.

Disney Speedstorm is loaded with content and multiple gameplay modes for all players to enjoy. Of course, it has ranked and unranked multiplayer modes, along with a local option too. Single-player modes include a Starter Circuit, a timed seasonal Circuit, and loads of timed challenges. The starter circuit enables players to unlock the base roster while the seasonal focuses on newer featured characters and other unlockables. Thankfully, I always felt like I was making progress every time I sat down with the game, whether I leveled up my racer or unlocked some new car cosmetics. At the time of writing this, despite my concern from earlier, I haven’t felt the need to spend my own money on anything yet.

Lastly, I want to mention my favorite part of the game—its soundtrack. Some of your all-time favorite Disney songs have been remixed into synth-wave/electronic/dubstep bangers. Some of them even feature the original lyrics, such as “The Gospel Truth”, “The Bear Necessities”, and the “Mickey Mouse March” from the Mickey Mouse Club. I would really love a music player in the game to listen to these or on an available streaming platform; I’d even buy the whole OST on Bandcamp. Fans will be happy to know that many voice actors reprise their roles too, which shows the care that went into development. The whole presentation on both audio and visual fronts rounds out the package in a way that other licensed video games fail to reach on a regular basis.

Hot diggity dog, Wisowki’s ride got a glow up.

Despite many elements that may keep players away, Disney Speedstorm feels like a labor of love. If you decide to buy into the founder’s pack, you’re getting a quality product. Though I received a review key, I would’ve been pleasantly surprised if I made the purchase myself. I have had so much fun with the game that I simply can’t play for just a few minutes. I should note it runs flawlessly on my Steam Deck too. If Gameloft’s focus continues to be high-quality service games such as Speedstorm and Dreamlight Valley, I can get behind this formula as long as they are giving players of every financial status access to experience the content that they pump out.

Founders Pack key generously provided.

L.J. Lowery

Born in southern California, but currently residing in Lafayette, Louisiana. Loves Hip Hop music, comics, and video games. Events/Media Coordinator, Podcast Producer, and Public Relations.

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