Nickelodeon Kart Racing is a straight up rip off of Mario Kart, just with some Nickelodeon character instead of Mario characters and with bad handling. It plays fine– it is nothing particularly special. The controls are like if Mario Kart was on a tablet that’s been dipped in green slime. The tracks all kind of merge together, but they are all from Nickelodeon cartoons!
The controls are frustration. They work, they are not as tight as Mario Kart, nor are they so loose that you can’t move forward. There are speed patches, and they don’t always seem to work. What am I doing wrong here, I ask consistently while driving in this game? For instance, if you are already speed up, it is unclear to me if they speed up your kart further or not. Additionally there is a gliding mechanic, which seems to be slower than just driving, but it takes effort to get into the air. Sometimes going into the air is part of the level, but in the times I’ve played the game, I never managed to get to the other side without the game having to reset my Kart either back to the beginning of the jump, or more frequently the end. This makes it seem like the developers just couldn’t figure out how to make the glide mechanic work.
In Mario Kart, if you are good, it matters and will have an effect on if you get first place or not. In fact if you are good, you can consistently win the game. In Nickelodeon Kart Racing, the idea of skill is forign. Skill to winning in this game is like Oil and Water. The karts don’t handle well enough to be precisely good at steering, and the AI doesn’t seem to have any consistently to them. The items don’t help, as they are given mostly at randomly. I’ve been in first place and had items that would get me a four spot lead if I were lower in the rankings.
The graphics are ugly. Arnold, from Hey Arnold, looks like he is in recovery from hard core drugs. I can see a thick line where his hair meets his head (just like when I do hard core drugs). Many of the animations seem to be recycled from character to character, or even just so boring that it’s doesn’t matter if they’re uninspired. Cartoons are colorful and this game has color, just not anything striking. Nothing stands out because everything is drawn with such vivid bright colors.
The maps don’t fare any better than the characters. Some maps are not on land, but rather on slime. These are the worst levels in the game. Not only does the bright green slime makes it hard to feel like the level is presenting any variation, but they also control with exceptional difficulty. But mostly it just make the entire map feel the same. I have never been a fan of slime, even as a kid. Could you imagine actually driving in that green mush? These game makers did not because they made their slime have all the properties of water. In my imagination the slime would be like mud, or glue. There are great tracks to be made from these cartoons, but instead we’re given hollow boring tracks that seem like they could be in any kids game.
This game isn’t all bad, some of the level have a lot of nostalgia. But if you are playing this game because you love Nickelodeon, why not just watch the shows. These games fail to capture what makes these cartoons so loveable, and unique. Later in 2020, there will be a remake of Spongebob Battle for Bikini Bottom releasing. If you or your kid is interested in this game, why not just wait and get them that– it’s at least enjoys being a game.