|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Webfoot||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Destineer||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 5, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
To progress from one track to the next and unlock more characters and karts, you have to place first in the race. There are no prizes for losers, and in this case second place might as well be last. The other racers will pass you by without problem, gaining speed while you remain with your pedal to the metal literally going nowhere fast. Taking advantage of shortcuts and boost pads will allow you to gain a little ground, but whatever gains you make are eventually compromised by the overly sensitive steering controls or the A.I. , which will just make up for lost time and pass you by again.
Steering is very touchy and even the slightest unintentional move can send you spinning out of control and into a wall. Hitting walls and other obstacles is just a way of life in this game. Despite the map on the bottom screen, there are a lot of blind corners that will catch you by surprise. Get used to it if you plan on playing this game for any length of time, which I've already advised against. There is a power-up which allows you to switch places with one of the other vehicles, and while this can get you ahead of the pack, you are often unable to see exactly where that vehicle is in relation to the course. Switching places will oftentimes send you careening into said walls and obstacles simply because you don't have enough time, or the precise control, to react quickly enough.
Money earned from winning races can go to purchase upgrades. Using the stylus, you can custom paint your vehicle. You can also earn money and power-ups by performing various tricks and stunts. By pressing both the L and R button, you can make your vehicle hop. This will in turn fill up your boost meter, which will give you an extra surge of much-needed speed. You'll find yourself attempting to use this feature as a compromise for acceleration, but you'll be hopping your car so much you won't be paying as much attention to the obstacles on the course. Another thing you have to worry about is that overdoing the hopping can cause your vehicle to flip right over.
The tracks are a mixed bag of obstacles, turns, and straightways, but not always on the same track. Most of the courses take place on urban streets, mostly in the Hispanic version of the 'hood, known as the barrio. Aside from some storefronts, apartments, sidewalks, and the odd tree, the backdrops are rather blasé. The graphics are low res, and the re-used, bland textures add no detail or charm to the game. The only semblance of what you might call "art" comes in the form of static cutscenes, which depict the characters having conversations with text. That's right, no voiceovers. Imagine forcing kids to read in this day and age?
The vehicles range from lowriders to wheelchairs, and in the case of that annoying talking chili (although as I mentioned he doesn't really talk, only spews text) a mobile taco. These vehicles fit the kart motif as they are on scale with bumper cars that you would find at a carnival. In fact, they change scale throughout the game going from undersized karts to almost normal sized vehicles. The camera angles change too much, not allowing the player to properly maintain focus and perspective of the course. The tunes are equally inane. Cheesy little ditties that you would expect to come out of a programmable car horn.
Another seven people can join in on the festivities, but why would they want to? It would only be to fulfill the saying: Misery loves company. And speaking of sayings, they say that good things come in small packages - but Homie Rollerz proves that good things don't come from a plastic egg.
CCC Senior Writer