There was one point in time in which video game design revolved more about exploiting a license rather than making an overwhelmingly fun game experience. We’re not sure what happened, but part of that blame goes to Acclaim, who cranked out more generic licensed fare than we could ever care for.
We thought those days were behind us, but here comes Nickelodeon Kart Racers, which comes along as a reminder that you could have all the zaniest car drivers in the world, but if you don’t have some inspiration behind your game, it’s all for naught.
Kart Racers is set up similarly in structure to other games, featuring a variety of characters from the Nickelodeon universe. These include Spongebob Squarepants, all four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a handful of others, racing for a first place victory. Along the way, you can pick up power-ups to throw enemies off your trail or even attack them from behind in the hopes of getting that first place lead.
The only real difference in design here is the usage of green slime. Yep, the commodity that made You Can’t Do That On Television such a hit is in full use here, providing you with the ability to boost ahead, but also possibly serving as a hindrance depending on how your enemies use it. It can be a blessing and a curse, all revolving around its usage.
Some Bright Spots, But Mostly Averageness
That’s...about it though. Everything else about Kart Racers feels so generic. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it doesn’t really have any selling factors that make it a must-have, unlike Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch. It’s just...there.
First off, the track design, at best, is all over the place. For every racing locale that offers a bit of innovation, you come across another that doesn’t make sense, mainly because of weird jump spots or just finding that right rhythm for a push to the finish line. They feature familiar sights from TV shows, but, really, that’s about the only positive factor here.
The characters are a little bit better, though we never really see any significant differences between them behind the wheel. They use the same power-ups for the most part, and you can’t even swing weapons with the Ninja Turtles to knock an opponent off-course. Granted, they don’t use them much in the show anyway, but that’s not really the point here.
Fortunately, there is a slight positive with the customization of vehicles in the game. As you proceed, you’ll unlock new cars and parts that you can outfit your ride with; and although they don’t offer the greatest performance boost in the world, at least they look spiffy. And that could entertain a few kids out there.prevnext
Decent Controls, But Not Much Else Working In Kart Racers' Favor
Aside from that, however, the visuals have a very unpolished approach, as if GameMill rushed the game out of production in time for the holiday season. And we wouldn’t be completely shocked if that was the case.
The audio doesn’t fare much better. You don’t hear too much from the characters at all. That doesn’t make them over-repeat lines, but it also sucks most of the personality out of the game. Occasional taunts can be fun, but a better balance was needed here. On top of that, the music selections are iffy, offbeat tunes that never really pick up any energy; and the sound effects are okay at best.
Then we get to the controls. Nickelodeon Kart Racers isn’t bad in this department, as it handles power drifting better than expected, and power-up execution isn’t too shabby. That said, however, it also doesn’t go the extra mile with tricks or taunts or anything that can add to the experience. It coasts by on what it has and never really takes any risks. Even Mario Kart 8 had the bold statement of defying gravity in spots; Kart Racers just stays on the road.
What’s more, the game is sorely lacking in options. There’s no real multiplayer community here, though you can race with friends in decent split-screen action; and the Battle Mode doesn’t offer much, as the rules aren’t nearly diverse enough to try too much new stuff, and you can’t even play against AI opponents. It’s either get your friends or stick to racing. Sigh.prevnext
Even Ninja Turtles Can't Save This One
And perhaps the biggest flaw with this game is its price. While it’s not a heavy $60 purchase, $40 is still a bit much considering what’s being presented here. $20 would’ve been more of a sweet spot, especially with the considerable idea of stocking stuffers.
Nickelodeon Kart Racers is a serviceable racing game, but that’s it. The track design goes nowhere fast; the characters don’t do nearly enough; the sound is a mixture of good and bad; and the controls are pretty good, but don’t really go above and beyond. And the game has decent multiplayer if you’ve got folks coming over, though some may ask why you’re not playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe instead. A fair question, indeed.
If you’re a fan of the Ninja Turtles or Nickelodeon shows in general, this might be worth a look. Otherwise, stick to better roads -- preferably ones not covered in slime.0comments
WWG’s Score: 2 out of 5.
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.)prev