Around the old Sports Gamer offices, we love ourselves some Mario Kart Wii. Driving across Moo Moo Meadows in a rocket-propelled baby stroller while launching turtle shells in all directions is an experience every self-respecting gamer must have.
So what if you took the whimsy of Mario Kart, and replaced Luigi, Peach, and Mario with Jimmy Johnson, Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart? And instead of rocket-propelled baby strollers, you had tiny versions of NASCAR cars as go-karts?
Voila: a Wii racing game franchise is born.
If you're a fan of NASCAR and Mario Kart, this game was absolutely made for you. Pick your driver—you can choose from 14 real-life drivers, or 10 made-up “Outsiders”—pick your go-kart, then get out there on the track and put the virtual pedal to the metal. There are 12 different tracks to race on, all of which can be “reversed,” making it feel as if you really have 24 different track options.
Right from the game's opening start screen, it's obvious that this game is meant to be playful and light-hearted, as opposed to more serious racing sims like Atari's complicated Race Pro. Hit the gas, avoid the brake, and climb your way to the front of the pack using whatever power-ups you have at your disposal. Oil Slicks cause other racers to spin out; Gas Cans give you a temporary speed boost; and Bottle Rockets can be used to target the racers in front of you.
Use your power-ups wisely and you'll soon find yourself out in front of the pack. Just drive carefully. Once you're in first, you become a target for the drivers behind you. The game also features four-player split screen, which means that you and three friends can compete/smack talk against one another while sitting in the same living room.
But the big question is this: Is NASCAR Kart Racing better than Mario Kart Wii? The answer: Well, no, not really. Mario Kart Wii is an all-time great. But you have to give proper credit to EA; crossing kart racing with NASCAR is a genius move. And for a first try at a kart racing game, EA certainly did a terrific job.
- It's Mario Kart crossed with NASCAR.
- Four-player split screen action.
- Real-world drivers include Jimmy Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Tony Stewart.
- Some of the 10 “Outsider” characters are lame (Billy Backfire?).
- Not whimsical enough for Mario Kart fans…
- Lame power-ups.