Kart racing has been a sub-genre that is either amazing or simply weird. There seems to be no middle ground. Ever since Nintendo released Super Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo they have left the competition, and imitators, eating their dust. 20+ years later and that is still true as very few kart racing titles can match the fun and excitement, and possibly friendship ending action, of Super Mario Kart. Sure, Crash Team Racing on the original PlayStation is one such title that holds the water mark quite high. The problem with this though is for every CTR we have a dozen or more M&M’s Racing (Nintendo Wii, 2007). Unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, this article is about five WTF kart racers, not the good kind either.
First up is Chuck E. Cheese’s Racing World (Android, 2018). First of all, this one has a serious problem that hindered the original Need for Speed (3DO, 1994)- a lack of speed. It also has traits from Namco’s Wipeout (PlayStation, 1995). Namely, when you barely touch the sides of the track you end up almost ping pong balled in your sad attempt to regain control.
The basics of kart racing are here. Cute characters, tracks with jumps and twists, and powerups spread throughout. If you attempt Chuck E. Cheese’s Racing World just know beforehand there are serious problems with this rat race.
Campbell Soup Company are not the first name you think of when kart racing comes to mind, believe me, I know. That is why it was such a weird feeling to see Goldfish Go-Karts in the Google Play Store when researching this article. I am sorry, that is partially a lie. I saw Chuck E. Cheese’s Racing World and then Goldfish Go-Karts was recommended on the right side of the screen. That made me realize I need to write an article about these weird kart games.
Goldfish Go-Karts is not exactly the typical kart racer. No, this is more of a slot car racing game. You are limited to one of two lanes on the track and have control over your throttle as the game auto steers you around. While more control is given than Mega Race (3DO, 1994) it doesn’t feel like it.
I do want to bring to your attention that according to Google Play, Goldfish Go-Karts does not feature In App Purchases or advertising (other than the fact that the whole game is based on Campbell Soup Company’s product). There is also a track building option.
Goldfish Go-Karts may be a great introductory title for younger racers.
I am bundling the two Garfield kart racing games together because they are the same game. One is free, ad supported, and the other is $1.99 to buy (no ads). Both offer In App Purchases though.
The one thing this entry has on the first two is speed is very much present here. The WTF factor is all based on the license itself. Who has read the Garfield comics or watched the cartoon and thought - man, this lazy cat, I bet he is would rock as a kart racer.
This next entry is another one that is mostly on this list because of the license. Care Bears: Care Karts is not your typical kart racer. There are kart racing elements but the focus here is the Care Bears themselves. You can create a custom “care kart” and work to get back the Care Bears stuff that was stolen.
The races are viewed from the side, rather than from behind the racer. This gives Care Bears: Care Karts more of an endless runner feel than kart racing. That is cool, it is a nice change of pace and will be of interest to parents wanting to give their younger gamers a safe game to enjoy.
Finally we have Safari Kart. This one doesn’t come with a National Geographic license or anything. In fact, it is the only game on this list that is not tied to a product or service.
Safari Kart features animals such as penguins, elephants, panda’s, etc driving karts around some rather detailed levels. I am reminded, quite fondly, of Sonic R (Saturn, 1997). That is a high honor to bestow. I mean, come on, some of these levels are far more detailed than anything else on this list to the point that it is almost criminal. Safari Kart is impressive for many reasons. Don't worry, the winner doesn't eat the losers.