Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 3D was one of the first games to hit the App Store when it first launched back in 2008. Now, after a small number of updates to the original and a surprisingly long hiatus, Crash is back in a sequel that packs double the punch.
Gameplay is very simple and will be instantly recognizable to anybody who has seen or played previous Kart games such as Mario’s outings. For those small collective of people who haven’t you must race around colorful tracks filled with big drops, UFO’s, boulders and other hazards whilst avoiding your opponents attacks and finishing in top place. Tracks in this game are well designed with multiple routes and shortcuts that offer variety and choices in what would otherwise be a linear experience. On your journey to race supremacy you will come across speed boost pads and crates which will provide a nice range of weapons such as missiles, bombs and TNT.
The game boasts both tilt and touch control schemes that come with their own advantages and draw backs based on personal preference. Both methods work relatively well, but as the position of the touch controls isn’t customizable, I prefer to use the tilt option. Controlling Crash or one of the secondary characters is overall improved in this sequel and the increased smoothness seems to provide a greater accuracy. Twelve tracks are currently included with ten characters and accompanying karts being unlocked as you progress through the game’s eight different modes of play. Not all of these modes are available from the off and must be opened through completing races in a three track event called Cup Mode. Mission, Time Attack, Skill and the other events differ from core gameplay to a certain extent, but you never truly stray from the basics whilst playing. If you are tired of racing against the game’s AI, which is fairly competitive, you can challenge other players in Online Multiplayer mode. This is done against three opponents over three different modes – Collection, Eliminator, Versus – which adds lots of replay value to this title.
Although I’m yet to personally experience any major issues with this game, it seems that a few people unfortunately are. A number of users are encountering numerous crashes and a bug that continually boots them back to the home screen. The only problem that I have come across, is the sometimes unresponsive weapon button that can often require two or more pushes to activate. Aside from technical difficulties the game’s obstacles and hazards can be very unforgiving; an area which splits opinion pretty much 50/50. Those who like a challenge and some unpredictability won’t mind this too much; but for some, falling straight from first to sixth on your final lap decrepitates the games fun. My only other issue is with the inconsistency at which the game connects to online play. I’ve come across errors several times which is a shame as the game connects relatively quickly when it does work properly.
Crash Bandicoot Nitro Kart 2 is a major improvement over its original release in almost every aspect. With a multitude of different modes and the added enjoyment of online multiplayer you can play this game for hours on end. The inclusion of Game Center or one of the iPhone’s other social gaming networks to handle matchmaking, would put a cherry on an already great cake. If you played and liked the original, or you’re just a general fan of this genre, you should definitely pick up this game. The game is currently on sale for 99¢ (80% off).