Nickelodeon Kart Racers was a very fun kart racer but there's now a delightful sequel and it's a huge step up from the original.
Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix follows in the footsteps of the first game as it features tight racing gameplay set on fun-filled and colourful tracks. For the unfamiliar, you race karts and have the ability to drift and use power-ups as one would expect from the genre. However, this sequel features some additional mechanics that make its gameplay much more customizable and varied. For starters, collecting green slime charges a gauge that allows you to deploy a chief skill which takes the form of a character who you assign to your team. You also assign a crew engineer and mechanic who provide further boosts such as increasing earned slime and acquiring additional power-ups. In the end, this team dynamic adds a lot of personality and variety to the already enjoyable racing gameplay.
One of the best upgrades in this sequel is its roster of characters. Whereas the original only featured a dozen characters, you can race as a selection of 30 here and the characters come from franchises such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Loud House, Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, Rocko's Modern Life, Invader Zim, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Danny Phantom, CatDog, and more. As if that's not enough, the selection of characters that you can assign to your team is expansive, too, with 20 chiefs and 50 other crew. Needless to say, if you grew up in the '90s like I did then you'll be in for quite a nostalgia trip. Additionally, there are 28 tracks to race on which are impressively presented. Heck, you can even race on the Double Dare obstacle course; how cool is that?!
Before starting a race, choosing your favourite character and setting up your team is great fun and you can also choose your engine, wheels, and exhaust pipe which each have their own stats. This customization element is handled excellently as it makes experimenting with different setups a part of the fun. Plus, you can deck your kart out in different themed paint jobs for a boost of personality. As you're racing, you'll collect and deploy power-ups that include things like homing footballs, gnomes that obstruct racers behind you, boomerangs, and balls that you can carefully roll into opponents. Meanwhile, the chief skills allow you to do things like get a boost, reflect projectiles, and Phil & Lil can even throw mud pies around. It all adds up to a comprehensive and fun-filled racing formula.
Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix features a decent amount of content as you can play single player grand prix events, complete challenges which are great fun, and try to master time trials as well as play local and online multiplayer matches which include races and arena battles. The latter of which allows you to battle on the TV sets for the Kids' Choice Awards and Double Dare which is awesome. However, playing solo doesn't offer much of a challenge even on the hardest difficulty setting so it's best to play with friends.
Finally, I just wanted to mention that the lack of voice acting is pretty disappointing. That being said, the audio is full of satisfying effects and fantastic music which is a huge step up from the first game. Anyway, another strange presentational quality is that the visuals sometimes pause for a brief moment as if it's loading in mid-race which can be disorienting and may throw you off your game. It doesn't happen often but when it does, it's jarring stuff indeed. Otherwise, the graphics are great and represent the franchises well.
Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix is a wonderful racing game that kids as well as adults who grew up in the '90s will enjoy a great deal. The nostalgia factor is off the charts and more importantly, the racing gameplay is impressively fun stuff.
- + Tight kart racing gameplay with plenty of fun power-ups and abilities
- + Lots of great characters and tracks
- + Enjoyable customization element
- - Not all that challenging while playing solo
- - Lack of voice acting is disappointing
- - Occasional graphical stutters can be jarring