Developer: Konami Digital Entertainment
Price: $7.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

I’d have a hard time believing that anyone in the world doesn’t like Mario Kart. It really is the perfect blend of exhilarating speed and happy-go-lucky gameplay. Each level is a joy to play, with multiple power-ups, exciting characters, and unique levels. So with this kind of success in mind, Konami and Polarbit created Krazy Kart Racing for the iPhone, a sequel of sorts to their 2001 GBA game Konami Kart Racers.

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My biggest concern with having a kart racing game on the iPhone are the controls. On one hand, the game could have the super smooth racing controls that Need For Speed had, which would create an amazing experience, or it could have the controls of a lesser quality game, jumping and grinding all over the screen.

After having played the game for a (long) while, I’ve come to the conclusion that this game is somewhere in the middle ground. It’s certainly not prefect or revolutionary, but the controls do seem to do the trick. The game gives you two control options within the option screen, both of which work pretty well, but definitely have their flaws. Option 1, the default option has you steering via accelerometer with auto acceleration, a standard feature throughout the game. The accelerometer controls are alright, but they tend to be a little jumpy which makes going straight a bit more of a chore than I would like. Control option 2 is a bit more acceptable to me because I can steer in a straight line without a problem. It works so well because it uses a slider on the bottom left that lets you slide to move. It’s exact, simple, yet a bit boring. I really don’t like the fact that the accelerometer controls are so finicky, but I suppose that’s what I have to deal with.

After controls, racing games, particularly kart racing games, tend to rely on level design and gameplay to drive the game along. Each level is fairly well designed, with many twists, turns, and obstacles to make your journey difficult. Some levels though, particularly a few in the first half of the game, are a bit cluttered, making the correct path difficult to find. On top of twisty tracks and tricky turns, there are also things like pits and pressure smashers that will thwart any plans on forward driving. Unfortunately there are also some instances where you get stuck on walls, forcing you to restart the race in anger.

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Being like Mario Kart, Krazy Kart also gives you little weapon boxes so you can give yourself a quick boost or even some dynamite to lay on the track. The weapon list is relatively small, but there are some weapons that were a bit unique. Also like Mario Kart is the way that the levels are ordered. By playing the Kart GP, you are given the ability to gain more levels and eventually, gain more players to use. My only complaint with the way you progress through the GP mode is the fact that you have to complete some trials before you can move on. There really isn’t anything wrong with the idea of completing trials, but some of them are quite weird. The second trial after stage one includes a hot potato type level where you have to be the last one standing without the bomb. I beat it in the first try, but needing to beat that before you move on is a bit odd. I like the idea of mini-games that allow you to unlock items, but forcing them upon you to progress through the game is tough for me to swallow.

Another critical feature in the kart racing genre is the ability to play with your friends. Just imagine owning Mario Kart and never playing it with your friends when they come over. Sure, you may end up playing against each other in an epic GP battle, but surely the game is more fun with friends than without them. There is some good news and bad news for you fans of multiplayer kart racing. The good news is that it does exist, in the form of an in-house network, along with an online option to play against the world. The bad news is that the two online servers both have issues. The PolarbitSWE server is always empty, which is a bit sad, and I’ve never been able to connect to the Server GER. Maybe someday it will take off for me, but that day is not today.

So here’s the deal with this one. If you really like kart racing games, pick this one up. Compared to other fully featured kart games on other platforms it’s a good deal, but on the iPhone, it’s a bit cringeworthy. At $7.99, Krazy Kart Racing is a tough pill to swallow. At the moment, I think it’s the third best racing game after the comparably priced Real Racing and Need For Speed. With that in mind, I think Konami and Polarbit created a nice game, but it just doesn’t have the heart that I would like to see from an A-list kart game. I long for Nintendo to come to the iPhone. It’ll never happen, but it should.

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