My childhood consisted of cartoons like Ninja Turtles, Ren & Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, and even Hey, Arnold! So of course I would love to play a Mario Kart-style game with my favorite cartoons on newer generation consoles.
Nickelodeon Kart Racers is a no-brainer in a world full of other popular kart racers, with now their third entry in the series by Bamtang Games. It has its high and low points so depending on what you’re looking for and if you fall under the right age demographic, this game may or may not be for you.
Like most traditional kart racing gamers, players will choose their favorite characters and customize their ride as a kart or bike with quite a few stat-boosting auto parts to choose from. Each part can change specific stats depending on your driving style. Want to accelerate faster, drift around corners easier, or want a faster turbo speed? It’s all at your fingertips in the garage.
While in the garage, players can choose their default favorite character as well as what makes this kart racing game unique, chiefs, crew engineers, and crew mechanics. Chiefs are like your main default power-up used for your character your chief meter continuously fills. There are quite a few unique styles which will be listed below. Chief engineers and mechanics are passive abilities that activate automatically when a certain condition is met.
- Most of the main Spongebob cast
- Leonardo & Michelangelo (Ninja Turtles)
- Rugrats cast
- Zim, Gir
- Danny Phantom
- Rocko, Ren & Stimpy, and more!
Chiefs (lots more in-game)
- Plankton: Can slow nearby opponents with chum buckets
- Gaz: Hones in and explodes a target
- Sheen: Hits opponents to drain their slime and tokens
- Mr. Krabs: Pulls in tokens like a magnet
Crew (lots more in-game)
- Shredder: Unleash rotating claws that can damage and protect you
- Ozai: Gain a boost
- Spunky: Ignore rough terrain
- High Neutron: Football freebie with every item (footballs are homing missiles)
There are quite a few more than listed to choose from, and even more to unlock as you play through the race tracks, challenge modes, time trials, and arenas. I think this greatly deepens the customization of each kart, allowing so many styles of racing.
The Fast and the Fun-nest
So how’s the gameplay? Well, that’s where it’s hit or miss. The main race track playlists have a variety of difficulties and tracks to choose from. This is where the meat and potatoes lie. It has very creative obstacles with lots to look at and enjoy.
The slime speedways are a nice touch, which adds a layer of strategy when memorizing track layouts. I enjoyed finding them and using them at all times. These speedways are shortcuts to gain the lead but at the risk of failing a simple jumping mini-game while zooming through it, possibly slowing you down rather than giving you the upper hand.
- Mrs. Puffs driving school
- New York rooftops
- Turtle lair
- Double Dare obstacle course
- Kamp Koral
- Reptar Ruins
- House of CatDog
- Fire Nation
- Ghost Zone
I recommend doing the challenges before attempting any cup races since they help you practice all the tracks, characters, mechanics, and power-ups. They will also help you unlock more characters and parts. Challenges are actually, well challenging. They get progressively harder and are worth the effort.
Demolition is a demolition derby mode that is decent depending on the map being used. Some have incredibly awful framerate issues which I hope are fixed when the game releases. I found it frustrating to really play demolition as a main source of entertainment because some mechanics don’t work very well compared to what they are really meant for, race tracks.
It was frustrating to drift and follow enemies, you cant use ramps and obstacles correctly, and some power-ups are near useless in such an open environment. Demolition is a nice addition, but very little thought was put into its individual needs.
As for Golden Spatula mode, this was the worst of the additional content. Find the spatula, and hold on to it for a set amount of time to gain a point. Then the location resets, rinse and repeat. Whoever has the most points in the end wins. This was infuriating since some maps don’t properly show where the spatula is. It was difficult to grab it from an opponent since you have to get lucky to roll the right power-up to use, and there were way too many players on the field. Avoid this one!
Slime trials could be fun with a bit of work done to them. Think of it as Splatoon. You paint the floor with slime as much as you can. Whichever team covers the most wins. Opponents’ slime can hurt you, causing a slow reset timer. You also have a slime meter which must be refilled on your side of the field to keep going. My only complaint is you don’t know how well you’re progressing until the end of the match.
Jelly spotters mode can only be enjoyed playing with real people. It is quite boring with bots. One team is “jellyfish” and the others are “jellyfish nets”. Nets catch jellyfish in a cage, and the living jellyfish must survive until time runs out. They do however have the opportunity to save their imprisoned friends.
Aside from the core ideas and mechanics of the games, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3 has amazingly colorful, creative racetracks and karts. The character models actually need a bit of work done. They look like stiff, unenthusiastic versions of their toy versions. I knew something was off when I looked into Patrick Star’s cold, lifeless stare or the Ninja Turtles’ forced, reluctant grin. They need a bit more animation and love, just like they put into their voice talent.
Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3 has some rough edges, but for the young folk, I think this would be a great game for the kids to play with their parents. It catches those nostalgic feelings for the older crowd while still entertaining kids with their more recent cartoon favorites.
There are lots of modes to play and even more to unlock, giving it fairly decent replayability. If Bamtang Games plans to support the game in the future via DLC, new modes and characters would be a welcoming addition. In the end, I feel that adults will find other, deeper games to choose from. Get this one for the kids!
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway for the Xbox Series X provided by Bamtang Games.