Nickelodeon Kart Racers Review
When we think Nick Toons, we think of shows like Hey, Arnold! Rugrats, Fairly Odd Parents and SpongeBob SquarePants plus a few more little gems. I have to say that I love watching them with my kids and have often found myself watching a few without them, and why not? Some of them are fun and appeal to ALL ages.
So, when Nickelodeon Kart Racers dropped by, I was happy to give it a whirl. Now, the first thing about Nick Kart Racers that you will notice is that not all the shows are represented, or some of the more famous ones. This may have been due to time constraints or licencing issues but, I feel like it was a bit of a missed opportunity to have some more characters in the game.
The characters you do get are:
I was hoping to see characters from Fairly Odd Parents, The Loud House, Jimmy Neutron and a few more that could have been thrown in. If they were tied to this shows as mentioned above, then I would have liked to see more characters from the show, like Plankton, Mr. Krabbs, Chuckie, Splinter and Gerald. These could be added in future DLC, or even have newer shows/characters show up and hopefully this will be the case.
So, in terms of gameplay, how does Nickelodeon Kart Racers fair against others of the genre? Well it’s a bit of a mixed bag really. While it’s basically a copy of most kart racers out there, it does have its flaws when it’s matched up to the rest of the pack.
When you first start the game, there is not much in the way of options. There is Single Race, Time Attack and Grand Prix and each of these game modes can be played alone or in split-screen. Grand Prix is the barebones of Nickelodeon Kart Racer and each of the Cups are named after aspects of the shows, like the Glove Cup and Sewer Cup. In each one, there is a possible 3 stars to earn and scattered across each of the tracks on offer you will see coins that you can pick up. These are used to upgrade your car(s) and range from tyres to the engine. These little upgrades only seem to improve your car slightly and seem more of an aesthetic feel than anything. Some of the upgrades are named after the shows on Nick Toons, like Mermaid Man from SpongeBob SquarePants, you can upgrade the tyres, engine and body to look like the Mermaid car.
The Racing itself is fun and the controls are simple to get to grips with for all ages who want to play their favourite characters. The cars race about the track collecting power-ups and these go hand in hand with the licences that are on offer. There is SpongeBob’s spatula, Tommy’s baby bottle and even the Turtles have their Ninja stars and Pizza. Each of these power-ups are not tied to their respective characters and everyone can use them. When racing about the tracks on offer, there are also rings that you can drive through that gives you a temporary speed boost and it’s always best to try and hit each one for the ultimate speed boost. Each of the tracks show off the environments that every Nick Toons fan will recognise. From like SpongeBob’s pineapple house, the Pickles household which shows off a lot of the Rugrats cheering on from the side of the track and the Turtles sewers. Each of these tracks do seem a little too wide and don’t offer up any real challenge, while there are some alterations in each track, like a shortcut here and there, it doesn’t offer up enough variety to be appealing in the long run.
On each course, there will be areas covered in green slime or points you’ll need to hit to unleash more of it. When you drive over these slime pools, it fills a boost meter. This will allow you to hit the Y button to give you a much needed to boost to blast past or catch up to the other cars on the track. On some of the tracks there are large portions where your car will transform into a boat as you sail across lakes of the slimy green goo.
All of this looks and feels apart of the Nick Toons world, yet it feels a bit underwhelming. The characters themselves, while they look nice and have little quirky animations, they do come across a bit low budget. There is no voice work to go along with them. I feel like this is a huge missed opportunity and it would have added a fun aspect to the game to hear SpongeBob’s voice as he passed his opponents or even cry out when he gets hit by a power-up from the other racers. The music that accompanies the game and around the track could have also taken some inspiration from the shows, but again, this is not the case and has a more generic sound.
With the enormous catalogue at Nickelodeon’s disposal, you would think they could have achieved something greater. The idea is there but the overall game is let down by how the characters are represented and the world in which each track is placed in. I feel like this is something that could have been a massive hit and a kart racer is supposed to be fun throughout, but sadly this feels more like a chore than anything else. While younger gamers and fans of the shows that are in the game may like playing it. I can’t really see it holding their interest too long as there are more misses than hits, which is sad to say since there are so many beloved characters in Nickelodeon’s universe that were left out!
Nick Toons Kart Racers had me excited to play the game, as I feel like a kart racer for consoles is what is missing. While there are some there, there is nothing that would WOW me. Sadly though, this is a bit of a disappointment and there was so much potential that was missed out from the biggest cartoon stars around today! While gameplay is adequate and the tracks have some nice details, it just feels more of a cash out than giving the fans what they deserve.
GoG Rating: 5/10