Review of NASCAR Kart Racing – Mario Kart meets America’s premier motorsport

Have you ever had one of those times where you tried to make a combination of two good things just because they were good things? Like pizza with vanilla ice cream in place of cheese, or maybe a burger with whipped cream? No need to lie, I’m sure we’ve all done something like that.  I tried to combine two sodas a few times; Some called it tasty, some called it disgusting.  I know I’m reminiscing about something weird, and I know I’m doing it in a game review instead of a Tumblr blog, but I feel it is necessary to talk about the practice of combining good things for the sake of making another good thing, because NASCAR Kart Racing is exactly that.

Released in February of 2009 exclusively for the Wii, NASCAR Kart Racing is, as you can probably already tell, a kid-friendly arcade racing game with drivers and tracks from the NASCAR motorsport.  It’s actually quite similar to Mario Kart because of its emphasis on using items to slow down or distract other drivers.  Aside from the usual turbo boosts, missiles, and oil slick, the game has a few weapons that make it unique.  The “Your Ad Here” item triggers a moving billboard that obscures your opponents’ vision.   There is also a yellow flag you can deploy to slow everyone else down.

One other thing that makes NASCAR Kart Racing stand out is the concept of having a teammate.  When driving near the teammate of your choosing, your boost meter begins filling up; You can then use boost to slingshot past your rivals.  You can also earn boost by grinding against an opposing driver; Boosting while doing so will send them spinning.

In true arcade-racer fashion, the campaign mode is split up into 12 series, which consist of races and minigames.  Clearing a race is done by finishing 1st or finishing 2nd behind your teammate.  The minigames involve things like boosting and powersliding.  It’ll probably take about four hours to unlock every one of the 12 tracks and 24 drivers.

The game also features a challenge mode where you play minigames and try to earn trophies.  It could take even more hours and hundreds of tries to complete every objective, which is probably worth it if you have a humongous urge to 100% clear the game.

Being that this is a NASCAR game, fans will want to see some real drivers and tracks.  Along with 10 fictional drivers, there are 14 NASCAR drivers to choose from, ranging from rookie Joey Logano to legends like Richard Petty and Jeff Gordon.

The track list is kind of thin, but each track is unique and fun.  Four crazy remakes of Daytona, Bristol, Talladega, and Dover are included as well as eight fictional tracks that take place in junkyards, cities, canyons, and even on an aircraft carrier.  All 12 tracks feature some very high jumps as well as tight turns that require quick hands and great powersliding skills.

Even if you’re not a NASCAR fan, you can still have fun blasting through these wacky tracks and collecting every trophy.  And with four-player split-screen racing, the fun and lasting appeal are nearly endless.  The bottom line here is that if you like Mario Kart, you can’t go wrong with NASCAR Kart Racing.  Ladies, gentlemen, and gamers of all ages, start your engines.

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