Also on: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Game Mill
Developer: Bamtang Games
If you?re of a certain age, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix is probably going to hit a lot of your nostalgia buttons. It?s got characters from SpongeBob, Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, Ren and Stimpy, TMNT, and loads of other shows that have aired on that network over the past couple of decades. So if you?ve ever wanted to see what happens when Patrick Star, Donatello, Tommy Pickles, Korra, and Zim all race each other, you?re in luck.
Unfortunately, I can?t say that describes me at all. See, I?m Canadian, and we didn?t have Nickelodeon, so by the time a lot of those shows reached up here, I?d aged out of the target demographic. Which means, in turn, that Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 would have to appeal to me on its own merits, rather than appealing to my childhood.
And you know what? For the most part, it did.
I mean, add in the usual proviso about any Switch kart racer that?s not Mario Kart (which is, you know, that it?s not Mario Kart). This means that, even if the racers are based on established characters, they still don?t have the same personalities you get from Toad or Luigi. Likewise, while the tracks are alright, they don?t feel like they have the same feeling of history that you get from Rainbow Road or Toad?s Turnpike.
Set that aside, though, and you?ll find that Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 is actually pretty enjoyable. There?s loads of tracks here — 28 in all, and even if they may not feel as distinctive as you might hope for, they?re still different enough from each other that you never feel like you?re running the same race over and over again. There?s also loads of content. The 28 tracks divide nicely into 7 different Grand Prix cups, each with 3 difficulty levels, and on top of that, there are quite a few race challenges (i.e. get to first place before time runs out, hit a certain number of targets, etc.) that add to the variety.
My favourite thing about Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2, though, stems from the game?s enormous roster. Not only are there 30 different racers to pick from, there are another 70 characters from which you can select a pit crew, each of them offering racers their own unique boosts and abilities. It adds an interesting level of strategy to decide how you want to balance your crew — do you choose the character who gives you a boost every time you get hit by another racer?s projectile, or do you pick the one who blocks everything around you, or do you take the one who shoots you forward with a hockey stick, or the one who…well, you get the picture. I may not know who the vast majority of these characters are, but that didn?t mean I didn?t get any less attached to the ones who made races much more winnable.
And that, I think, is what sets Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix apart from, say, the SpongeBob re-release that came out earlier this year. Enjoying that game basically relied exclusively on nostalgia, and not much else. Here, nostalgia probably adds to your enjoyment, but even if you strip all that away, you?re still left with a pretty solid kart racer that adds one or two things to the usual formula.
Game Mill provided us with a Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix Switch code for review purposes.