Grab some of the most beloved characters in animation history and add some maps that bring some familiar locations to life. Now, give those characters some karts and motorcycles, the ability to upgrade your vehicles, and have some familiar faces come along for the ride. You now have a recipe for a kart racing title that delivers on all fronts, or at least in theory, with Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway. But how does it all actually come together? Well, let’s talk about that in my Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway review.
Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway Review
I am a sucker for kart titles, whether it is of the cute and fun variety in the form of Mario Kart or the most realistic options found on PC. I have spent more hours than I care to admit racing all of these titles, either single or multiplayer, and I have found some of the best times ever. Who knew that so much trash-talking could be part of the equation for racing cartoon characters around fictitious locales, and yet, that made up half of the fun and added a whole level of excitement to those experiences. That’s precisely what GameMill Entertainment hopes to capture with its newest release, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway. The third iteration of its licensed kart racer looks to expand upon its previous offerings and deliver an experience as I described above.
What I Like
Kart racers can be a blast without having anyone or anything licensed. Still, if you mix in the correct type of licensing that a wide range of people can recognize and associate with, that sets the stage for an even better experience. That’s what GameMill has done with NKR3. They added some of the most iconic characters that range from the 1970s to the early 2000s and tried to create a group of eclectic characters that would give everyone a chance to race with someone they know and love.
Those lovable animated characters range from Garfield to the Rugrats, Ren and Stimpy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more. There wasn’t a single available character that I didn’t recognize, and while I may have been drawn to some more than others, it added an awful lot to the game by having so many choices.
As much as I loved the character choices, I couldn’t do this review without mentioning the excellent map and layout design choices. The more I traversed through them all, the more I realized that Bamtang Games found a nice balance by offering up courses that provided some challenges, the ability to focus on opponents and goals, and occasionally even a hidden pathway that might just give you the edge at crossing the finish line in first place.
Many of the courses I raced in Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway felt familiar, but not in a direct rip-off type of way — okay, well, maybe a few did. From the layouts to the speed icons on track and the ability to grab an occasional power-up to unload on an opponent, it all felt very much like second nature. For some, that may be an issue, but for those looking to jump into a kart and race with some different characters than what is the norm, familiarity is a welcomed addition.
Aside from the familiarity of the maps, the designs are excellent, and the scenery change from map to map is vibrant, unique, and offers a strong feeling of visual immersion. The bottom line is that the maps and layouts in Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway are well done and deliver an excellent combination of fun, change of scenery, challenge, and nostalgia.
Driving And Controls Model
There may be a lot in Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway that has been “borrowed” or re-imagined, but the driving model that Bamtang employs is not, and the game is better for it. The control and consistency felt in every kart and cycle are consistent. The simplistic control system allowed me to focus on my opponent while not dealing with an inability to navigate easily around each track.
The ease of navigation and control also allowed me to focus on finding the shortcuts read around the map rather than always focusing on my kart. Lastly, Bamtang’s control system is an excellent combination of maneuverability and control — both tight and loose simultaneously. This control implementation can be complicated to pull off yet the developers did just that, creating one of the best on-track feelings I have ever enjoyed in a kart racing title.
What I Don’t Like
I have no issue with a game publisher or developer taking the same approach or path to create a game in the same genre, as long as the developer makes it a point to put their fingerprint on it or create their own identity. I’m not sure that is the case with Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway.
As I’ve mentioned before, the game feels like a hybrid of sorts, and it feels like I have been there before and done it already. Whether this is negative or positive is subjective, but it’s worth mentioning as many are hoping for something new. Other than the characters you are racing with, you will struggle to find much that feels new and refreshing.
It’s not that the single-player options are limited in NKR3, but it’s just really easy. You are allowed to choose from Slime Scramble, Arena, Free Race, and a few other choices. Slime Scramble is Bamtang’s version of a story mode that sees you take on a series of opponents and four unique maps on either slow, medium, or fast, and the ability to unlock more challenging levels, described as “insane.”
So far, so good, but the big issue is that I never lost on any difficulty levels. Slow and medium provided zero challenge, and fast brought the opponents closer to me occasionally, but ultimately I would win.
This means that until you unlock the “insane” level of difficulty mode, the chances of you facing any real chance of losing are slim, especially if you have prior kart racing experience. Again, there is an excellent suite of single-player options to choose from here, but the lack of any actual opponent difficulty limits the overall enjoyment until certain levels are obtained.
I was hoping for a bit more out of this one, and while my expectations weren’t quite met, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to like and to have fun with in Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway. All the components are there for a great title, it just does not do quite enough to rise above the crowd. That said, characters many of us love, map locations we are familiar with, and the ability to upgrade and create different styles of karts and motorcycles while swapping out crew members are all hits.
NKR3 may not be on the same level as some of the kart-racing juggernauts like Mario Kartaim Slime Speedway offers a fun experience, especially online, and one that people of all skill sets can enjoy. It just may take those with a bit more background in this genre to find a true challenge.