A kart racer featuring 100 characters from your favorite Nickelodeon shows? Sounds great, right? I was honestly a bit doubtful as the precessor for Nickelodeon Kart Racer 2 wasn’t up to par. It is night and day though, as this sequel managed to improve everything to make it a much better game for its target audience. It seems that developer Bamtang Games learned a lot from the feedback. Hopefully they will take our feedback too so Kart Racers 3 will be another step, or should I say drift in the right direction.
We played Nickelodeon Kart Racer 2 for six hours on Xbox One and two hours on Xbox Series X.
What we liked!
- Hello childhood! What a joyful and fantastic line-up of characters! I grew up with Catdog, the naive dog and the smarter and dark cat is a great comical duo. So I immediately found my favorite character. The selection of 30 playable and 70 non-playable characters is truly the greatest reason why many children will love Nickelodeon Kart Racer 2. SpongeBob, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Rugrats, Danny Phantom, Hey Arnold! and more. Each time you can select three pit characters too, these 70 characters give you small advantages, so selecting them smartly is the way to win.
- Fun customize options: When it comes to the source material they have done an excellent job. You can select specific kart parts to create your own racing machine. While this isn’t a new feature in the genre it is a nice touch as you will recognize many things from Nickelodeon’s classics or more recent shows.
- Loose driving and lack of driving feedback: It is a bit of a hit and miss, as older gamers might hit that ‘this isn’t really fun’ wall rather fast as the game lacks any sort of driving challenge. You don’t have to drift to get faster times and slowing down (braking) isn’t even neccesary in most of the tracks. Again, for the target audience that’s great but a bit of a challenge would have been welcome.
- Outdated visuals: Karts and characters look nice enough but oh boy.. the track backgrounds are a blurry mess that totally fails to bring the potential from the Nickelodeon world. It is telling that a Nintendo Switch game, Mario Kart looks massively better than an Xbox One game. Track design is more than okay it just doesn’t have any sort of personality or charm.
What we disliked
- An integral part of the game is totally unbalanced: Players can decide to take the main ability, this is basically selecting a known cartoon character that has a huge impact on gameplay. You fill this meter rather easily by driving over green slime. While this sounds cool on paper it leads to some of the most unbalanced and unfair gameplay I have seen in a kart racer, as some abilities are clearly much better and make wins ridiculously easy. (even against real players) Abilities like slowing down all cars for example or shooting stuff. We’re aware that this game is clearly made for younger gamers but that doesn’t mean that it is okay to have these kinds of unfair possibilities, balancing just feels completely off.
- Weird and frequent ‘wrong direction’ bug: This is definitely one of the weirdest game bugs I experienced but in my eight hours of play it happened six times that karts were facing the wrong direction of the track. It is an incredible weird sight to see and you have no other option to restart your game. I had it on Series X too, so the latest update(s) didn’t solve this ridiculous thing.
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