|System: Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: A2M||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 12, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The original Mario Kart for the SNES was an amazing and influential title. As new consoles emerged to replace their predecessors, Nintendo managed to continue to improve upon their entertaining formula of karts and combat in the numerous subsequent Mario Kart titles. Seeing the success of this franchise, many companies have tried to duplicate its signature gameplay and style with varying degrees of success over the years. Alas, Mario Kart remains the king of kart combat racing games despite another valiant attempt to dethrone it, this time coming from EA in the form of MySims Racing.
With a game like Mario Kart Wii already available for the system, MySims Racing seemed doomed to failure from the get-go. Thankfully, despite the stiff competition, MySims Racing actually manages to teach the old genre some new tricks by adding some long sought after features. One of the first things you'll notice when you start the game is that there is a story mode. Granted the story isn't incredibly deep or interesting, but it is a nice addition that attempts to create an in-game world rather than just letting you participate in various races with the driver of your choice.
The storyline involves a bet between two racing rivals from many years ago that remains unresolved. With one of the betting men now missing, it is up to the player to save their city and racetrack from becoming a landfill. But, instead of just choosing to race in a single event or even a cup, players can actually tool around a few different towns from an over head map view while finding friends to help, foes to battle, and eventually events to race in order to progress to other cities.
The characters are all done in the MySims style and range anywhere from a pizza chef to a goth boy. There are a ton of eclectic and somewhat humorous characters to bump into, but, unfortunately, their cute style and dialogue do little to make up for the repetitive and tedious challenges you'll need to complete for them. With only a few variations such as collecting a specific number of objects scattered around a race track, speeding through an obstacle course, or just plain beating someone in a race, the story mode becomes stale very quickly. Making matters worse, each person you bump into on the map will want you to do between two to four of these recycled challenges each. If you wish to actually complete this mode, expect to spend around six to eight hours doing the same six to eight events, with only minor differences like different tracks, differing items, and cart customization to keep things interesting.
Cart customization is something that fans of the genre have wanted for awhile now and MySims does a fine job with it. When you start the game, you'll have the chance to aesthetically customize your three carts (small, medium, and large) by changing things like their wheels, bumpers, lights, mirrors, and spoilers. There are quite a few options right from the start, and players will earn more throughout the course of the story mode by successfully completing challenges or by finding random blueprints hidden on each track. There are a plethora of parts to be found and unlocked, with some focusing on the look of your vehicles while others on attributes such as top speed, acceleration, weight, and handling. Luckily, once you've got your cart just the way you like it, you can also save it directly to your Wii-mote and take it to play at your friends' houses, which is a great feature if your friends are also playing the game.
While this customization is a nice addition and may keep you coming back despite the challenges' repetitive nature, it certainly won't distract you from MySims Racing's biggest failing: its gameplay. Once you get on the track, as you might assume, the game plays very much like a Mario Kart game, but far worse. The core mechanics are all there, stay on the track, hop over obstacles, run over speed strips, chuck family-friendly weapons at opponents, and reach the finish line first. Unfortunately, none of these things ever feel as entertaining as they should.