Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway Review (Conversion)
Usually, when a copyrighted kart game is released, it happens overnight. Stretch a bunch of celebrities into little cars, throw them around a series of courses, collect coins and get them out the door.
In that sense, you must credit developer Bamtang and publisher GameMill for holding up and continuing with Nickelodeon Kart Racers series, has now entered its third iteration. It’s just, normally games like this get better with each entry, and that wasn’t the case this time.
First, the positives. As with its predecessors, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway celebrates a huge chunk of Nickelodeon’s history, going back to the original Nicktoons cartoons from 1991, to last year’s Paramount + SpongeBob exclusive spin-off show, Kamp Koral. The healthy selection of 40 riders is yours in the end: although you have significantly fewer than this when you first start the game, you unlock them through winning combinations of Grand Prix-style events and buy them from the in-game store. And this time they even talked.
Yes, one of the biggest problems with the first two games in the series is that this colorful cast of characters seems to have taken an oath of silence, which isn’t really ideal in a genre where games usually live. or die according to their character. The lack of voice acting made things feel strangely claustrophobic last time, so its addition this time around is massively welcome.
It’s a rich cast of characters, bringing back most of the favorites from the previous game and introducing some newcomers that represent another classic Nick series. Oblina from Aaahh!!! Monsters are real is a particular highlight, as is the Toastman Powder from Lace & Stimpyand we’re sure some ’90s kids will appreciate the inclusion Jimmy Neutron.
That said, several characters from the previous game were left out of the lineup this time around, which will disappoint some players. Rugrats Enthusiasts will mourn the passing of Tommy and Angelica, while Rocko’s Modern Life and TMNT Fans will be sad to find out that the game is missing Heffer and Shredder, respectively. And JoJo Siwa is still there, which is understandable but also very angry.
The kart selection system has also been upgraded. In Kart Racers 2 Players can customize their engine, wheels and exhaust, but each character has their own custom kart body that cannot be changed. This time it’s more like Mario Kartwhich has a standard selection of kart bodies, wheels and tailpipes to unlock, which everyone can drive.
Also heavily influenced by Mario Kart was the first addition of bicycles to the series. Unlike in the Nintendo series, these don’t seem to affect handling too much, but it’s a nice aesthetic to give players a choice between four- and two-wheelers this time around. Besides, Ninja Turtles just looks cooler on a motorcycle.
So far so good, so what’s the problem? Well, kart racing games tend to have not only karts but racing as well. And this is where the series unfortunately gets reversed, making the overall experience a disappointing one.
The most notable issue is performance. We’re more than five years into the Switch’s life now, so we’re not going to leave you with the usual “wait, this works better on other consoles” nonsense: that’s what gets it. expect at this point, and it should come as no surprise that this version underperforms Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3 on Xbox and PlayStation, as of course it does.
What might surprise you, though, is that this also performs worse than Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2. On Switch. Much worse. We don’t know what’s going on here, but the game had a massive drop in framerate, almost like it was trying to do too much and couldn’t handle it.
We don’t remember having major issues with the previous game, so just to be sure, we restarted Kart Racers 2 on Switch and made sure the framerate was fine. Nothing remarkable, but the game aimed for 60fps and hit about 2/3 of the time, with the slowdown kicking in when things got a little hectic. It was a good enough effort.
This time, the game seems to be aiming for 30fps and often fails to hit it. We recorded some footage and revisited it later to study it in more detail, and especially on some road sections we got around 23-24 fps, which should be fine for something like an RPG but for the fast paced the game is a big handicap. Everything feels extremely sluggish and on higher speed settings it can be really tough to keep up with the action as a result.
That’s not the only problem either. For some reason weapons feel less satisfying this time around: we rarely get the rush of “yasss, get them” that you have to get when knocking down an opponent with a projectile good aim.
And then there are these weird new shortcut ‘slides’ where you slide down a huge slime-filled chute while having to jump over barriers. The idea is that if you can jump all the hurdles and get through the slide without getting hurt, you’ll save some time, but the weird swooping camera in this section combined with the speed The terrible frame rate means you’re basically guessing when to jump because you can’t see the incoming barriers fast enough.
All of this makes for a game that, despite the roster, karts, and voiceover improvements, ends up having a worse experience than its predecessor. This would be bewildering if it weren’t for the fact that we know it exactly why does this happen. One word: Garfield.
A couple of years ago, Nickelodeon’s parent company acquired Garfield and there’s a new Garfield animated show that will appear on the channel at some point. Thus, Garfield made his debut in Kart Racers 3 and hit his previous record for kart games (we guide you to 2/10 of our review Because Garfield Kart Furious Racing on Switch), it’s completely clear that when he made the jump to Nickelodeon, he took that jinx with him.
In fact, if Bamtang did the right thing and patched the game to get Garfield off the list (and Odie too, just to be safe), we’d be putting our money on the framerate that would instantly skyrocket to 60. frames per second.
Hahahaha! Such Japanese! Seriously though, this performs horribly.
In theory, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3 does it right, with a larger roster of racers, more kart customizations, and the addition of on-demand voiceovers, which add to the atmosphere considerably. But on the track, it was extremely disappointing, with severely reduced frame rates compared to its predecessor, making things a bit sluggish.