I was both excited and apprehensive when the opportunity to review Smurfs Kart presented itself to me. I've been a massive fan of Mario Kart since I first played on my Nintendo DS and my Wii as a kid. I've tried other racing games before, and not one has yet to come close to Mario Kart in my eyes. But what about when our silly blue friends, the Smurfs, take a shot at their own kart racing game?
Selecting Your Character
Smurfs Kart does not try to hide the fact that they took Mario Kart 8 Deluxe‘s basic format and gameplay and essentially Smurfed it up. When you open the game on your Nintendo Switch, you can select between the Grand Prix and Free Race. You can choose between twelve different Smurf characters to use as your driver.
As someone who never delved deeply into the Smurf universe as a child, I know very little about these characters. But that didn't stop them from endearing me! Each character has a unique character design and voice, from Papa Smurf to Astro to Smurfette. They even each have their own personalized cart and special gift that can help you get out of tight spots. You can't customize the carts later, but it's fun seeing each Smurf's personality through their ride.
Creative Yet Limited Tracks
Once you choose your character (my personal favorite is Hefty), it's time to race. You can choose between three cups with four tracks each. Each race is surprisingly unique and creatively designed. I felt immersed in the world of the Smurfs as I sped through underwater tunnels, village paths, and treetops.
The game's biggest downfall is that the tracks are very limited. In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, you can unlock up to a total of 32 unique tracks. When you compare Smurfs Kart's 12 tracks to that, the game becomes repetitive very quickly. You can eventually unlock mirror versions of the 12 tracks in the game. But for me, one of the most exciting parts of Mario Kart is unlocking new cups after winning big.
Seamless Gameplay Mechanics
The gameplay mechanics within each race are pretty much the same as in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. You can choose between two speeds: Fun and Hyperspeed. But be warned! Moving up to Hyperspeed both increases speed and your enemies' skills. Like in Mario Kart, you collect gifts along the track to protect yourself and damage your opponents. A hornet replaces the red shell, an acorn fills in as the green shell, and so on. Some items have unique powers, like the trumpet that plays and slows your opponents down for a while.
Each Smurf character gets their own special gift with top-tier powers. My good pal Hefty uses his barbell to gain extra power. He speeds through the other Karts and takes control of the steering for me. I got out of quite a few sticky situations with that one!
As you drive, you also collect smurfberries. These stand in for the coins from Mario Kart, and they're extremely adorable.
Drifting is very similar to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. As you turn, you can drift your kart to access a speed boost when the curve ends. There are unique barriers that block your path like mushrooms, bushes, and wooden boxes, depending on the cup. Some tracks are more complicated than others, with tricky maze-like obstacles and narrow pathways. Don't skid off the road, or you'll tumble down the cliffs, and your opponents will zoom past you.
The creators of Smurfs Kart did not slack on the music. The music is just as memorable as the iconic Mario Kart theme, but it's more relaxed and silly, like the Smurfs. Each track has its own music to further set the scene and immerse you in the experience. I also noticed that the music changes for each Smurf when they use their special gift, which is an extra-fun treat.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with Smurfs Kart. It reminded me of Mario Kart and the fun I had as a child, and it still held up to its impressive gameplay standards. The art is incredibly creative, and I'm now a Smurfs fan because they're so darn cute! I had a blast trying out each character to find the one who felt like me.
On the other hand, I was disappointed by the limited tracks available. While the 12 tracks players have access to are extremely fun and well done, I was left wanting more for a game that costs $39.99. But other than that, I recommend Smurfs Kart to any fan of Mario Kart looking to explore more tracks and fun characters. I had a blast reminiscing on some of my favorite childhood memories through a familiar yet unique new game.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Maya (she/they) is a queer entertainment and culture journalist. They cover interviews, reviews, roundups, news, and more. She loves horror, history, and creativity. They hope their writing both entertains readers and inspires them to think critically. Her favorite pastimes include needle felting, gaming, and drawing.