Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2
Developer: Bamtang Games
Publisher: Game Mill
Genre: Racing, Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 06/10/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
In 2018, Bamtang Games released Nickelodeon Kart Racers and to say it received mixed reviews is probably over-generous. Although I did not play the original, a kart racer is always appealing so find out what I thought of Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 in this Rapid Review.
Going Through the Motions
I’m sure most readers have played a kart racer at least once and I’d be surprised if the name of that racer didn’t involve the word “Mario” in its title. Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 unashamedly copies a lot from its Nintendo counterpart. Instead of the blue shell, we have a jellyfish; in place of the red shell, a rocket, and who needs a banana skin when you can have a throwable gnome? Mario Kart-esque drifting is also used in Nickelodeon Racers 2 with coloured sparks indicating the varying speed boosts.
On top of that, a lot of the U.I is borrowed in the race selection and kart customisation screens. It is only natural for a game from the kart racing genre to take a lot from the Nintendo giant but I’m pleased to announce that Nickelodeon Racers 2 has an unexpectedly high amount of unique features which I’ll address in the next section.
Slime Stand Out
Nickelodeon Racers 2 has some surprising slime-based features that provide a unique experience. There are 32 tracks from across the Nickelodeon universe and every track is absolutely covered in Nickelodeon’s signature slime. By driving through this slime, the slime meter fills up and a special ability can be used. These abilities operate like Super Smash Bros‘ spirit mode. First, you choose a character (I played most of the game as SpongeBob) and then a chief can be selected.
Sticking with the Squarepants theme, I chose Mr Krabs who, once the slime meter was full, earned boosts when collecting slime tokens. A crew engineer and crew mechanic can also be selected who offer more passive abilities. My go-to mechanic was Gary the snail of whom granted me more slime and for the engineer, I went with Eugene who gave me a boost after recovering from a hit. These options add a tactical edge to gameplay and provide a multitude of options.
Everyone is Here But No One Can Be Heard
Across the multiple Grands Prix and challenge modes, an abundance of characters can be unlocked: twenty-eight in total. I mostly stuck with the Nickelodeon cartoons I watched growing up so Squidward and Spongebob were played the most. Unfortunately, there is a distinct lack of personality to Kart Racers 2. Although there is such a high amount of characters, there is absolutely nothing in the way of audio that distinguishes one from another. The music is a generic racing tune, and the characters don’t offer any originality. All the game needed to do was have Spongebob laugh when he boosted but instead I was greeted by silence. Even though the characters are here, the lack of special audio was incredibly disappointing and made Kart Racers 2 feel incredibly generic.
It will be no surprise that a kart racer comes with a Grand Prix mode. Kart Racers 2 features eight Grands Prix with each featuring four races. In a battle to the top of the leaderboard, items must be used to reach a podium position. I reached first place in every Grand Prix and the Grand Prix did what it needed to do. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy about this mode but I still had fun. Of course, it is always annoying being “jellyfished” (see: blueshelled) a few moments before the final racing line is reached, but this is standard for a Grand Prix mode.
In addition to the Grand Prix mode, Kart Racers 2 also includes a challenge mode which offers a multitude of challenges which, once completed, can unlock new characters. I loved the variety in challenges: there are basic time trials but also more unique ones such as “Don’t get hit more five times”. In this particular challenge, I had to retain a middling position as, if you’ll excuse the brag, my usual first place position meant that I usually got hit a lot more than five times.
Aside from the Challenge and Grand Prix, a Time Trial and Battle mode is on offer. The Time Trial mode offers just that: a chance to race a “ghost” and achieve the best time possible. Battle mode is a choice of two arenas with a capture the spatula and “five lives or you’re out” mode.
Although most of my time was spent on the single-player modes, the multiplayer Grand Prix worked as basic multiplayer should: both players in the same race, with an acceptable frame rate.
Overall, the four modes on offer in Kart Racers 2 were a welcome surprise and offers a choice in how you choose to play.
Visually, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 leaves a lot to be desired. Unfortunately, the graphics look outdated with undetailed assets and track backgrounds. The characters and karts themselves look fine but if you’re expecting Mario Kart 8 level visuals then Kart Racers 2 isn’t for you.
In terms of frame rates, judging by my own perception, I think the game runs at about 30fps but there is the occasional time when there’s a large number of slime effects on screen and the frame rate drops.
Overall, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 provides a fun racing experience at its core. Unfortunately, the outdated visuals and distinct lack of personality to the characters makes Nickelodeon’s second racer just above average. I can still recommend this to someone who wants a new racer with fresh tracks but if you’re deciding between this and Mario Kart, Nintendo’s entry maintains its number one spot.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 on the eShop here.