Drifting onto PlayStation 4 is Nickelodeon Kart Racers! Featuring characters and stages themed from popular Nickelodeon cartoons, players will race to the finish line, while using power-ups to boost and knock out their rivals. Does it get the gold cup or disqualifies? Let’s check it out.
Players coming into Nickelodeon Kart Racers will likely be able to identify the roster list as it features characters from 90’s and early 00’s Nickelodeon cartoons. They come from series’ such as Spongebob Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hey Arnold, and Rugrats. Each of the cups contains themed race tracks based upon these properties and brings back a lot of nostalgia to Saturday morning cartoon sessions as I drove around them.
You’re given a selection of game modes which are placed under both the single player and multiplayer. Both have a Grand Prix and free race but then they differ with a third mode. In single player, there’s a Time attack mode and in multiplayer, there’s an Arena mode.
• The Grand Prix is split into 9 cups with 6 of them featuring 4 unique tracks and the other 3 cups being a collection of all the different races.
• Free race is a single race which can be played for practice on either of the three difficulty settings.
• Time attack is another practice mode to test how fast you can complete a track, then further challenge yourself with a ghost racer.
• Arena mode, exclusive to the multiplayer mode, has options for co-op and free for all. Players collect power-ups to knock out the opposing team and claim victory.
Races are fairly challenging with speed boosts and power-ups being used by everyone. While driving, slime can be soaked up so it can be used for a nitro boost (like in Scoot), alternatively, you can drive over a speed pad to get a quick boost. Treasure boxes are laid out to give each racer a power-up which can be used to defend or attack the other drivers. After completing a few laps, I noticed that the stages would sometimes alter in some ways, either with a different route or obstacles. This was really cool to me coming from previous kart racing games as I’ve never seen this happen before.
Players that need a bit of help in Nickelodeon Kart Racers can find assistance in the shop which is on the main menu. Various items can be purchased with the in-game coins collected during races which increases various stats, such as speed and acceleration. Gaining mass amounts of coins can be done by completing bonus levels with treasure chests. In one case, I had gained about 400 coins in just one bonus level with items in the shop costing 500 coins at the most.
After finishing a race in Nickelodeon Kart Racers, you’re rewarded a point value reflecting what place you came in at. By having the most points after the 4 races, you win first place. Winning first at 3 of the races then coming in at 4th could still mean you win the cup. The other racers gain points as well and you can see who is closest in value to you. Another thing that happens after races is gaining experience points that will unlock the bonus stages so you can gain extra coins.
It should be noted, for those wanting to play against others, that there is only a local multiplayer option. Missing is any online features such as online races and leaderboards. Being able to play against several others in the Grand Prix would have been pretty awesome, hopefully some sort of multiplayer via the internet is added post-launch as I had a lot of fun with the local modes.
Nickelodeon Kart Racers is a great addition to the family-friendly kart racing genre. Visually, it’s very colourful, the characters are all well represented and there is a lot going on but not too much that it becomes a distraction. While lacking an online mode, the fact that it has a local 2-4 player mode is amazing and can be played by families and friends as they see who can emerge the victor.
This being a game based on Nickelodeon cartoons, it’s fair to say that it’s target audience will be the younger generation and their families, as such, they’ll love playing as the virtual representations of their favourite cartoons. People playing this alone will also have the joy of a fun, solid kart racer which contains many tracks and difficulty levels to play through.