Kart racing games are a dime-a-dozen these days, though not all are created equal. Nickelodeon Kart Racers, for instance, has a lot more going for it just by name brand alone, but even that’s not enough sometimes.
Nickelodeon Kart Racers is your standard kart racing affair, albeit it with a cast of characters pulled from Nickelodeon’s top cartoons. SpongeBob Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Rugrats characters are all on hand to man the karts, though they don’t really add anything to the experience. Why? Because I’ve never known SpongeBob to be so silent. The guy is known for not being able to keep his yapper shut for more than a second in the much-loved TV series, but in Nickelodeon Kart Racers he’s completely silent. It’s just… wrong.
And that’s perhaps my biggest annoyance with the game. The racing itself is fine, albeit it a little slow, and the colourful graphics are more than enough for a child to enjoy, just ask my toddler, Charlie. There’s nothing too complex here, and there shouldn’t be – it’s a game aimed at kiddies, so I can forgive the lack of depth and simple presentation, and even the repetitive nature of the game’s tracks. What I can’t forgive, however, is the lack of voice acting.
It’s one thing to use a license, it’s another to misuse it, and I’m afraid Nickelodeon Kart Racers falls into the latter. For a game aimed at kids, it doesn’t do much to keep the kids engaged, entertained, or laughing. My boy knows SpongeBob from sound alone, and I could see the confusion on his little face as none of the characters uttered a single word.
The rest of the game, though, is just about passable. There’s the standard kart racing mechanics of power ups that you drive through to pick them up, with some offering attacking abilities and others offering defensive skills. To be fair, these seemed pretty well thought out and I found myself wishing for similar defensive abilities in Mario Kart 8, but that’s by the by.
Kart handling is simple and deliberately slow to make things easier for its target audience, so I can’t fault it there. There’s even a nice little slime mechanic whereby you drive over slime and collect it. This fills up your boost meter and with a simple tap of a button you can get a surge of speed. You can either collect slime until all three parts of the meter are filled, or just use it whenever you have it. It’s adds a little bit to the game, but it’s nothing game-changing.
It was also nice to see familiar locales within the game’s tracks, though they’re a little on the light side when it comes to content and it can feel repetitive to race along the same tracks, even if they are flipped.
Overall, I can’t say it’s a terrible game; it does what it set out to do, but it does in such a mediocre fashion that you’ll be begging your kid to play something else after an hour has passed. The lack of voice acting is criminal and something I can’t forgive. Just a bit of banter here and there would have made the game a bit more fun for the kids and adults alike. It’s a missed opportunity and I hope the developers get a second chance to do better.
Nickelodeon Kart Racers PS4 Review
Nickelodeon Kart Racers isn't going to be causing Mario problems any time soon, but it's still a decent enough racer for the kids. Just don't expect the same passive entertainment that us adults normally get from cartoons. Seriously. No voice acting?!?!
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella.