|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Electronic Arts||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 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|
NASCAR Kart Racing is obviously a family-oriented game, but there are some issues with the difficulty, especially when you consider this game's intended audience. For example, NASCAR Kart Racing employs the much-hated "catch-up A.I." where your opponents seem less worried about getting and maintaining a lead and more concerned about keeping up with you. That said, there will also be instances where the opponents pull off victory after victory, while in some cases the other racers are pushovers. This inconsistency in difficulty is really annoying.
These A.I. issues wouldn't be such a big deal if it weren't for the placing system that NASCAR Kart Racing implements. The only way to progress through the game is to come in first place in every race. When you combine this with the inconsistent A.I. issues, the opportunity for some really frustrating scenarios presents itself. At its core, NASCAR Kart racing is a fairly light-hearted, pick-up-and-play racing game. But, these difficulty issues aren't really consistent with that goal.
NASCAR Kart Racing also features a multiplayer mode, which is definitely a big plus. The game is certainly conducive to multiplayer action, and the head-to-head mode is enjoyable. However, something that came as a surprise was the lack of cooperative play. After all, this cooperation mechanic really feels like the crux of the game and is the one feature that sets the game apart from its competitors. Plus, if you've played Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, you know how much fun cooperative racing is in games like this. The lack of cooperative multiplayer really feels like a missed opportunity on the part of the developers.
Visually, NASCAR Kart Racing was better than I expected. The environments, karts, and racers are all colorful, though the lack of distinction between racers is a little disappointing. The game moves along at a solid 60 frames per second, and there was virtually no hiccups or graphical problems. Admittedly, the game isn't particularly challenging in the graphical department. But, NASCAR Kart Racing keeps things simple and, as a result, performs relatively well in the visual department.
NASCAR Kart Racing is a solid kart racing game, but its biggest flaw is just that there's so little to make it stand out. It's so amazingly similar to Mario Kart Wii, and the latter is a better, more memorable game in every way possible. This game won't even particularly appeal to diehard NASCAR fans, because the license has been used in a very non-traditional way. If you want a fun, exciting kart racer with solid multiplayer, Mario Kart Wii is the way to go. So, while NASCAR Kart Racing is a fairly good, there's just no compelling reason to check it out.
CCC Freelance Writer