Monday, November 2, 2009

Shrek Kart™ Review

Previously on TouchReviews.TK, we had a kart racer round up. Of the three, Cocoto Kart was the winner. But now, we have a new contender. While it may not be the best, it sure is one of the most polished and fun-to-play kart racers out there. It is: Shrek Kart™.
Shrek Kart™, $4.99, is an officially licensed Shrek kart racing game, developed and published by Gameloft. It boasts great 3D graphics, tons of power-ups, 11 characters, 15 tracks (including 3 battle mode tracks), 4 single player modes, and Local WiFi/Bluetooth multiplayer. All the items fit the theme of the movie(s), and the characters will be familiar, such as Shrek, Fiona, the Baby Ogres, and the Ghost of Lord Farquaad. The tracks include The Swamp, Far Far Away, and various other environments such as fire/lava, beach, or countryside. However, there are really only 8 true race tracks, because there are 4 "revisited" tracks which make you play through the track backwards. While this does feel like a new track, it still has the same environment and wouldn't be as exciting as getting to play in a new environment.
You can control the game using either tilt or touch control, touch allowing you to tap the sides of the screen to turn your kart. You can press the brake button(s) to slow down and eventually go into reverse, or quickly turn sideways while pressing it down to drift, then get a boost. The tilt controls aren't sensitive enough, and your kart is so big on the screen that it's sometimes hard to see where you're going. However, drifting with tilt controls is easy. If you use touch controls, it's easy to turn, but it's slightly awkward to drift.
The file size of the game is 105 MB, so it's relatively small for a Gameloft game, which is good if you're tight on storage. I've heard some complaints about frame rate in Shrek Kart on older generation devices, but since I've been playing on a 3rd Generation iPod Touch, I've been experiencing no problems at all. I have gotten a chance to try out the Bluetooth/Local WiFi multiplayer, and it is slightly slower than the regular mode, but still fun. I couldn't get the Bluetooth to connect, but Local WiFi works well. The only downside is that after every match, you have to set up the match again completely, so that means going into multiplayer, choosing your character, and starting the game again.
The battle mode of the game is similar to the version in Mario Kart. You drive around a somewhat circular arena (one of three), and gather power blocks, and try to attack other players. (In the offline mode, computers) You get a thumbs up for each time you hit someone, and a thumbs down for each time you get hit. These get added up at the end (positive for thumbs up, negative for thumbs down) and the winner is shown.
Those are all the features of the game, and now you must be wondering, "but is it fun?" Of course it is! It's probably the most fun kart racer on the iPhone after you get used to it. However, you would soon get frustrated at the fact that if you try to play any cup without finishing all of them with one player, you lose all your progress in it. For that reason, it's much more fun to play time trials than any other game mode.

Great Graphics
15 Tracks (but 12 not counting "revisited" levels)
4 Single Player Modes
Local Multiplayer

Shaky Controls
No Character Phrases from the Movies
Various Glitches/Bugs

Bottom Line:
Shrek Kart™ is one of the best kart racers out there, but is hindered by lower-than-average controls and progress issues.

Graphics: 4.75/5
Gameplay: 4.75/5
Controls: 3/5
Sound: 4/5
Replay Value: 4/5

Overall: 9/10 (not an average)


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