Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)

A couple of years ago I reviewed Nickelodeon Kart Racers, a kart racing game featuring characters and tracks from multiple generations of cartoons from kids’ cable channel Nickelodeon.  Now it’s back with a sequel with more characters, more tracks, and just more stuff in general.  It’s available on all current consoles but reviewed on PS4 here.

The new game has 30 or so characters, some new and some returning.  Many of them you must unlock by racing.  Featured on the box is newcomer Lincoln Loud from The Loud House, along with a few of his friends.  I’m not quite as familiar with that show, though, since it’s new.  Other racers include the SpongeBob crew (SpongeBob, Sandy, Patrick, and Squidward), the four turtle boys from TMNT, Rugrats (Tommy, Chucky, Angelica, and Reptar), Ang and Korra from the Avatar series, a few kids from Hey, Arnold, plus Ren & Stimpy and CatDog.  Others include my main guys Invader ZIM and GIR, as well as Rocko and Heffer from Rocko’s Modern Life, and many more! In my review of the first game, I wished that ZIM and Rocko characters would’ve been in it.  Did they take my advice and add them in the sequel because of my review?  Eh, probably not, but I’m glad they’re here anyway.

Tracks are also based on the Nick shows as well.  Some include Foodcourtia from ZIM, O-Town from Rocko’s Modern Life (complete with Chokey Chicken restaurant, surprised they got away with that), and my personal favorite: a Double Dare obstacle course!  I THINK they did reuse some tracks from the first game, though.  The Glove World and Sewer Subway tracks seem awfully familiar.  Weapons are standard kart racing fare, like bouncing balls and homing footballs, but they all make reference to the show as well.  My favorite is when you replace everyone’s engine with a rubber piggy toy, slowing them down.  That’s a direct callback to one of the episodes of Invader ZIM!

New to the game is that you can select side characters that act as a pit crew.  These include friends like Gary the snail, and they’ll give you bonuses like extra boosts and weapons when you equip them.  You can also choose different engines, exhaust, tires, and paint jobs, adding to the customization since most affect your steering and other stats. Green Slime has always been a part of Nickelodeon.  It was in the last game, and it’s here, too.  On the track are puddles of slime and slime squirters, and when you drive through them, a meter will fill.  When it’s full, you can activate one of the skills from the pit crew you’ve selected.  Although I do miss the tracks from the first game where you race on a sea of slime in boats.  They took those out here. You can also collect slime coins which make you go faster, and you can keep the coins to buy parts in the garage.  The game has a multitude of modes.  You can race in cups where you get points for placing, and whoever has the most points after four races, wins.  There are also free racing, time trials, and battle arenas.  You can also play couch multiplayer or online, too.

One of the main problems I had with the first game is also present here.  None of the characters have voices.  It makes the game a little lifeless and I don’t have much of a reason to unlock GIR unless I can hear his melodious voice.  Maybe it would’ve cost too much to get the voice actors and actresses, or maybe it would’ve been too annoying to have them all talking.  But I can’t help but think the game would’ve had much more personality with voices.  At least they didn’t what they did in the first game, and added text on the bottom of the screen telling what the characters would’ve said.  Boy was that dumb.  Another problem is that the game isn’t too terribly original and seems like a bit of a cash grab.  If you have to choose between this or Mario Kart 8 or Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled, I’d go with those.  HOWEVER, if you have kids and they love Nickelodeon shows, this is a good second pick.

Kid Factor:

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Comic Mischief and Mild Cartoon Violence.  Some of the weapons invoke crude humor such as stinky diapers.  And racers who get hit with a weapon just spin out or tumble, but that’s about as violent as it gets.  If you’re OK with your kids watching Nick cartoons, they’ll be OK with this game.  Reading skill is helpful for the menu texts, but multiple difficulty selections mean players of all skill levels can enjoy it.

One Response to “Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix (PS4, Switch, Xbox One)”

  1. I watched a lot of Nickelodeon when I was a kid. You Can’t Do That on Television, Belle and Sebastian, Danger Mouse, etc. Good stuff. I’m not so familiar with these characters.

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