When most people simply glanced at the game, it is easy to look at it as just another mascot kart racing game. With character racers like Crash Team Racing
, LittleBigPlanet Karting
, and especially Mario Kart
, one would think that that there is nothing more to do. However, by taking a closer look, it becomes clear that there is more than meets the eye.
While the various characters will get your attention, the vehicles that they drive are the important detail. Depending on the track, the drivers will use either the classic go-kart, a speedboat, or a fighter jet. Using various vehicles was used in other games like Diddy Kong Racing
, but Transformed taking it a step further. In most cases, the tracks consist of multiple terrains. Mario Kart
has changing terrains, but your kart does not change with it. If you go into the water, you end up driving in the water, but it is still in kart form. If you go into the air, a hang glider comes out to extend your jump, but it still counts as more ground racing instead of real aerial races. In this game, when going from one terrain to another, the vehicles will change accordingly to match it. That means if your kart goes into the water, the kart will change into a speedboat. If you hit a big ramp, it will now become a fighter jet. With your vehicle changing throughout the race, it makes the vehicles more interesting than usual.
The vehicles are not the only thing that transforms in this game. As you race progresses, the tracks will change along with it, a feature few racers ever did. In one prime example, Dragon Canyon, each lap has its own feel. In lap one, you will start by driving along wooden bridges and rock roads. Partially into lap two, a giant rock will block the road forcing the racers onto an unstable water route with waves, rocks, and waterfalls. On the final lap, a dragon will blow up the wooden bridge making everybody to take to the skies dodging pillars and monsters. With an ever-changing track layout, it makes repeating the same track a lot more exciting than other racing games.
As with most kart racers, items are a part of the action. While these weapons make the racing more interesting, they tend to make things unfair. This is something that this game fixes. One of these is a weapon that locks onto a racer and seeks it until it makes contact. In most games, once somebody launches this weapon, all you can do is take the hit. In here, when the game warns you, it is possible to dodge it with a well-timed boost. Additionally, another item will allow you go grab them weapon and, if desired, send it back to them.
One more detail about them items is how they are against the leader. In these games, there is usually a weapon designed to attack specifically the leader. What makes them bad is that because they are guaranteed to hit the leader regardless of their distance. This makes it that the game will penalized the leader simply for being in the lead. Transformed
realized this is unfair and fixes it. With this game, to attack the leader, the weapon used is a swarm of bees. While they will hurt the leader if they hit, that is not a guarantee. They work by acting as a series of pillars. Through skillful driving, it is possible to drive around them unharmed. By making it that lead targeting item works on skill instead of blind targeting, this makes that if the leader can avoid them, then that person deserves to be in the lead, the way that it should be.
Another thing that makes the game stand out are the modes available. Like any racing them, Grand Prix racing is the main draw of the game. However, another mode stands out in this game. In World Tour mode, the game gives various challenges besides simply winning a race. One on track, dozens of cars will crowd the track making it hard to maneuver. On another, a tank will try to blast you. On yet another, the player need to fly through rings that send them both on and off the regular course. With so much variety, this could have been a game onto itself. With all the extra challenges, most other racing games pale in comparison.
Even though the newest Mario Kart game is about a year newer, this is what it should have been. Even for those that play on Nintendo systems, this is the superior kart racer to play. Since this is a multiplatform game, fans of the genre should not miss on one of the best games released in years.