Originally called Wai Wai Racing on the Game Boy Advance, Krazy Kart is a Mario Kart style racing game featuring characters from Konami titles such as Goemon the mystical Ninja, Frogger, Power Pro-Kun from Power Pro Baseball. Developed by Polarbit who were responsible for Crash Bandicoot racing, Krazy Karts is a full 3D sequel of sorts to the original GBA title.
The game features various modes; Quick Race for instant action, Single player mode for competing in cups, and Multiplayer for local and, for the first time in a racer, online races.
Single player is the main game mode though, where you get to unlock the various cups, tracks and racers. Only the Krazy GP is available to begin with, and you must come first in that cup to progress to the next. There are three difficulty settings to choose from (easy, medium and hard), and then you choose your racer, which differ in acceleration, speed and weight.
While I found the cup itself pretty straightforward, and came 1st pretty easily, I was surprised to see that you don’t automatically unlock the next cup. Rather frustratingly you must complete three trials first. One of these I found particularly challenging is the bomb chase trial. An arena based track where you must avoid the player with the bomb, and become the last man standing. The problem here is that if you are on the run, the player with the bomb is twice as fast as you, so it’s pretty hard to avoid getting tagged, once you do have it, the speed hinders you from finding and tagging other players, with only a short countdown before you explode. In online games this mode is fine against real players, but even on easy mode I found this trial very frustrating, when all I wanted to do was race in the next cup. After finally completing the tasks you move on to the next cup.
Tracks are all themed around the Konami characters, so you have tracks like Goemon’s Ganbare Dochu, with wooden bridges and water hazards, and the Power pro stadium, complete with giant Dig Dug worms to avoid.
Other modes in the single player game, include Free run, where you can race any of the unlocked tracks; Time trails for beating your best times; and Mini battle where you can play bomb chase or chicken, a silly ‘who will break first’ mini game.
Graphically the game looks great, with bright colours and sharp textures. Characters and tracks are modelled well, and it all zooms by at a steady framerate.
Controls are good too with perfectly balanced tilt control for steering and two buttons for firing power ups collected along the tracks, and a break pedal for…. well, breaking! The touch area for this button is a little small and a bit too close to the power up button, but to be fair you will have little or no use for breaking. The is no accelerator as Polarbit have opted for auto acceleration, I’m not usually a big fan of this, but it works surprisingly well here and makes sense considering you’d usually have your finger pressed on accelerate for the entire time of the race.
The real gem in this game is the multi-player, coupled with some great powerups (also available in single player modes) such as heat seeking missiles, ghost mode and the ability to turn all other racers into pigs… races become frantic battles for first place. On entering multiplayer, you can choose from two servers (or a local wifi server). Here you can enter a game room or create your own. While there are not many players out there with a copy of the game (as of reviewing this game), I was able to set up a game and play against several players within minutes. It really felt like a good’ole game of Mario Kart, which is a good thing. The bomb chaser mode works better here too, with human players at the wheels.
Presentation and Graphics
Best looking Kart game to date, with crisp, bright and detailed tracks that perfectly reflect the Konami themes they mimic.
Sound is good overall, but the music is highly compressed and sounds like it’s ported direct from the original GBA title.
Great controls, as well as solid line-up of tracks, racers and race modes, despite the frustrating tasks. Online is the killer feature here though.
The single player will last you a while, plus there’s the promise of downloadable tracks and characters. The online mode could, if it gets enough players, be an endless source of racing fun.
Let’s face it, the best Karting game on any platform is Mario Kart. But it will NEVER come to iPhone and iPod Touch. Konami gave it a go on the GBA and put up a good fight. On Apple’s handhelds though it’s a winner, as it really has no match… but can an upcoming certain green ogre-based-racer take its crown?
Currently only available in Europe for £4.99