ATV Drift & Tricks: Beginners Guide

Tired of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and want something more challenging, slippery, and complex, ATV Drift & Tricks is out now on Nintendo Switch and can provide all those things. This particular racer is, as indicated in the title, an ATV racing game with both single-player races and multiplayer ones, including a campaign that can unlock more racers and tracks.

However, that challenge also means there's a bit of a curve to learning how to play ATV Drift & Tricks. Here's a quick guide to help you get started with this racer.

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How to drive

ATV Drift & Tricks

ATV Drift & Tricks (Image credit: Microids)

When you first start playing ATV Drift & Tricks, you may find it difficult to adjust to the driving controls. ATVs on dirt roads are extremely slidey, meaning you'll have difficulty steering around turns, recovering from mistakes, and staying at top speed. While challenging, all this really means is that you need to occasionally lift your fingers off ZR and monitor your speed carefully as you drive.

Spend your first few races getting used to the feel of the vehicle on the track. Avoid top speed and take corners slowly. Practice jumps and use the control stick to move forward and backward to adjust your angle as you land so that you don't flip or crash. Get used to the different tracks, and learn which places are okay to go off-road to take shortcuts, and which aren't worth the lost points.

It's okay to take your time just getting the feeling down before you get seriously competitive.


Drifting is one of the most essential components to winning races in ATV Drift & Tricks. It's in the name, after all!

To drift, you'll need to lightly tap ZL as you're steering around a turn. You don't want to hold the button, as holding it will cause you to brake. But a tap while turning will send you into a drift and allow you to better navigate the tight turns of races.

You'll want to start to drift right as you enter into a turn, but just as with the normal game controls, it'll take some practice to fully get the instinct for when you should start turning to succeed in a drift. It can also vary from racer to racer. Practice turns and drifts with your favorite racers until you can master them, and you won't have to lose nearly as much speed to get around the track and win.


One of the other vital components to winning races in ATV Drift & Tricks is the Wheelie trick. Wheelies can be performed by pressing and holding B. If done and timed correctly, you'll get a speed boost, but it requires a degree of precision.

Wheelies can give boosts when done at two times: while starting from a stand-still, and when landing after a jump. You'll see a bar appear below your driver with two moving arrows. In order to land the wheelie, you want to press and hold B when the arrows are within the center marker. If you miss wildly, you'll see the markers turn red and you'll actually lose speed. If you're close, you'll see them turn yellow and get a small boost. But if you're dead on, the arrows will turn green and you'll get a larger speed boost.

If you get red, you'll want to let go of B right away to try and rebuild your speed. If you get yellow or red, keep holding B until the indicator below your driver expires to get the full benefit of the speed boost.

This technique can also be used at the very start of the race for an initial boost, or any time you fall and need to restart.

Tips for winning races

  • Use the control stick to adjust your angle when landing your ATV after a jump so that all four wheels hit the ground at once. You'll get a speed boost.
  • Don't be afraid to use the breaks if you're headed top speed for a sharp turn. It's almost always better to slow down too much and make the turn that it is to speed up too much and overshoot.
  • You can swerve into opponent racers to knock them out of the way, but be careful not to get swerved into yourself!
  • Pressing X and tilting the stick in the air will cause your racer to do tricks, which will also help you speed up upon landing.

Need help?

Still struggling to win your races in ATV Drift & Tricks? Ask your questions in the comments!

Reb Valentine