REVIEW: ‘Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix’ Is A Complex Kart Racer (PS4)

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Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix, developed by Bamtang Games and published by GameMill Entertainment in North America, is a racing game for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with an upcoming PC port in the works as well. Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 is a fun kart racer for experienced players, but surprisingly difficult for those who may jump in just because of their Nickelodeon love.

In Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2, players control their favorite Nickelodeon characters, racing around in karts to earn first place, similar to the Mario Kart series. There are multiple game modes, including Slime Grand Prix, Free Race, Challenges, Time Trial and Arena.

Each mode is rather self-explanatory. Slime Grand Prix and Free Race are your regular game modes, pitting players against each other in groups of eight. Time Trial is a race against the clock, letting players compete alone to achieve the fastest time on a course. Challenges are where the player is asked to finish a specific task, whereas Arena is a battle zone that forces players to knock each other out or win games of Control the Golden Spatula, aka capture the flag.

The character and kart selection process of Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 is complicated. For experienced kart racers, it’s fun to use the settings to your advantage, working strategically to better your kart. However, for inexperienced players who have picked up the game because they want to play Mario Kart with Invader Zim the options can be overwhelming.

Even as someone who grew up playing the Mario Kart series, Crash Team Racing, and other kart racers throughout the 2000s, I was overwhelmed when I first booted up the game. The characters, engine and wheels all impact your kart’s stats, such as speed and drift. In addition, there are three “crew members” you can choose, which will give you special skills to use throughout the race.

Two of these skills are secondary, triggering automatically depending on the environment and what’s happening to your character. The main crew member, called the Chief, is triggered by gathering enough classic Nickelodeon slime, which is scattered throughout the levels.

To boost your chances, there are also slime coins. Collecting slime coins increases your speed, but it maxes you out at 10 coins. Of course, there are also items, which either help you out or attack your enemies to give you an advantage.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 Gameplay

This was difficult enough to wade through my first time booting up the game, even with all my prior experience, especially because the game’s tutorial is practically nonexistent. For my roommate, who doesn’t play many games at all, explaining all the ins and outs of Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 was pretty difficult. This was a huge bummer because she was stoked to play as Invader Zim, but the game was nowhere near as easy to jump into and play as something like Mario Kart.

Once I figured out how everything functioned, I had fun challenging myself to build kart and character combinations that worked for my playstyle. The use of the crew members allowed me to customize how I played the game. It took a while, but I eventually figured out that I preferred crew members that gave speed boosts and defense buffs instead of extra items. When I discovered this, the game immediately became easier and I excelled at the game.

For me, this was one of the most interesting things about Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2. Learning how the game works takes a surprising amount of time, but the customization options are endless and tailoring your kart to your playstyle is so much more important than in any other kart racer I’ve played.

Additionally, I liked diving into modes other than Grand Prix. In fact, the Challenges mode was a much better single player experience than the rest of the game. Sometimes the challenges weren’t actually challenging, but the enormous checklist gave me plenty to strive for while playing. Plus, it was a less monotonous experience than Grand Prix, which was fine in multiplayer but got incredibly repetitive when riding solo.

In fact, repetition is one of the downsides of Nickelodeon Grand Prix 2. Even when playing with my roommate, the game didn’t hold my attention for more than a couple of races. The tracks just aren’t that interesting – they’re fairly straightforward and not very challenging, especially compared to other available kart racing games.

The characters don’t look that great either. Of course, it’s hard to transfer a lot of these characters, who are mostly from 2D cartoons, to a 3D video game, but almost all of the character models just don’t look quite right. Since you’re in a kart, it doesn’t really matter during actual races, but in character selection and the short cutscene that plays at the end of each Grand Prix, I always got a little bit unnerved seeing Arnold from Hey Arnold! in 3D.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2

Plus, as said earlier, there are no explanations for how the game works other than basic controls and their effects weren’t immediately obvious. Because of this, there were many items that I couldn’t figure out the entire time I played.

Overall, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix is a complicated kart racing game that might please experienced kart racing fans but isn’t approachable for casual players who could pick it up to play as Squidward in a Mario Kart clone. The visuals aren’t too interesting and neither are the tracks themselves, but there is a true depth to kart selection and customization that makes the game more challenging than many other simple kart racers. It’s a worthy game for racing fans, but if you’re planning on a fun casual party game with friends, this might not be what you’re looking.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix is available on October 6 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with a PC port launching in December.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2
  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10
6/10

TL;DR

Overall, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix is a complicated kart racing game that might please experienced kart racing fans but isn’t approachable for casual players who could pick it up to play as Squidward in a Mario Kart clone. The visuals aren’t too interesting and neither are the tracks themselves, but there is a true depth to kart selection and customization that makes the game more challenging than many other simple kart racers. It’s a worthy game for racing fans, but if you’re planning on a fun casual party game with friends, this might not be what you’re looking.