App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Most companies roll out a self-promoting mobile game as an after-thought. Fortunately Red Bull takes it seriously, as they have proven with their Kart Fighter series.
The first thing I noticed about Red Bull Kart Fighter 3 was that the handling of the kart was superb; each drift satisfyingly drawn out but never to the point where it was irritating. For new players, the speed combined with the bird's-eye view may take some time to get used to. It's initially quite jarring, but in next to no time players will be taking corners and overtaking like a pro. There are three controller settings - auto steer, auto acceleration, and manual - in that increasingly challenging order.
The environments all contain their own individual quirks, obstacles, jumps, and specialist vehicles (did someone say Moon Buggy?), while the retro visuals are reminiscent of Micro Machines, which I had no problem with at all. There is an extensive career mode that will please the completionist, though not due to the amount of courses but what it takes to get 100% on each level. Players must complete each level with one of 5 different carts, coming in 1st place with one of each of the powerup Wild Cards equipped. It means that unlocking the next arena by accumulating stars can be a slightly drawn-out process, as the Wild Cards require the spending of hard-to-earn coins. Considering the game is free however, it's a fantastic amount of content, with even more coming soon.
In 'Quick Play' mode the game combines several random elements to produce a unique race, especially convenient for those in hurry, or those who want to get a taste of one of the locked levels or karts. Players can also challenge their friends to a fastest lap contest via Facebook, but unfortunately there is no actual head-to-head racing of any kind, which is a shame.
Despite this, Red Bull Kart Fighter 3 is a racer with great replay value, imaginative courses, and enough content to keep people playing for hours. It's old-school racing done right, and it deserves a download in my book. If it was a paid app it would be an easy purchase for me, so the fact that it's free is just an extra incentive to play.