Well, to say Crash Kart 2 beats Mario Kart is a bit too harsh for now, but I must say that iPhone cart racers are getting pretty dang close. It’s been almost 2 years since the first one for this cart racer was released, and it wasn’t until maybe a year ago competition started appearing.
But Activision has proven that Crash Kart will always be the best with the release of its sequel, which features smooth controls, solid visuals, and an overall good-looking environment. I didn’t find many flaws with this game, although the number of cups and characters could/should be more.
Still, Crash Kart 2 is the best effort I’ve seen in the App Store so far, with a somewhat extensive single-player campaign mode and smooth online multiplayer.
Graphics: The graphics seem to be on par with most high quality cart racers on the App Store, but they are nice nonetheless. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Activision, and they definitely delivered the best graphics the iDevice can handle (from my observations). The framerate didn’t take any huge dips either, and the game was smooth through my playtime.
Controls: Both accelerometer and touch controls were very smooth and were tuned quite nicely. I’m usually a touch control type of guy, but it’s definitely nice to have some options. I liked either one equally in this case, and Activision definitely took the hard way to get the controls down perfectly.
Online multiplayer: I’ve only been able to start one multiplayer game, but from what I’ve seen, it’s more or less pretty smooth.
The other multiplayer games…: I connected maybe one out of ten times. The other nine times, the game just took forever to start. It may have just been my impatience, but it takes forever for a multiplayer game to get going. You’re stuck in the lobby for a good 10-15 minutes, and that’s just time we don’t have.
Characters: With no unlockable character system and only 4 characters, you have to be scratching your heads with this part of the game. 4 characters is nothing compared to the 10 different characters found in Krazy Kart Racing from Konami. This department was definitely a letdown, since I was looking for some more variety to play around with.
Arena battle: This is one gameplay mode I would have liked to see. Just straight racing doesn’t cut it these days, and people need some more variety to keep playing the game.
Every time a cart racer appears on the App Store, it seems like the phrase “the closest thing to Mario Kart” always comes up. And that’s the case with Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 2: it’s the closest thing to Mario Kart I’ve seen so far. It’s a lot of fun, the levels are well-designed, and the online multiplayer is fun based on the one time I was able to connect. But Activision left things out that should have been there, like more characters, and it just leaves me cringing at the thought of Crash Kart 2 not reaching its full potential. I’m still waiting for the day when I can wholeheartedly recommend a cart racer to everyone out there.
Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 2 was developed by Activision, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 3GS. The price is $9.99.