Go Kart Go Turbo Game

A look at the fun filled animal karting game

It isn’t every day that I crave a freshly poured glass of racing game for breakfast, and I’ll be plainly honest with you; it wasn’t today either. Instead, I began my morning with a glass of milk, which I find has more nutritional value and sits better in my stomach. However, when I stumbled across ‘Go Cart Go: Turbo’, I decided to put down my glass of fine, locally-sourced cow-juice and give racing games another chance. What did I discover as a result? Firstly, I remember just how much I enjoyed almost-winning at something I’m not particularly good at, and secondly, anything described as having a ‘Turbo’ quality to it instantly invokes a desire to investigate what justifies it being called ‘Turbo’ in the first place.

I was instantly greeted with cheerful (yet eventually patience-grating) music loops and a menu layout that can only be described as ‘delightfully jazzy’. Having the option of single and two-player modes was a minimum expectation for a racing game, though at the same time it felt generous of what is essentially still a flash game to offer this option. The game immediately has the feel of a more professionally-produced game which you would often expect to see on a console or paid-for platform of entertainment. I came for the Turbo, but I stayed for the fun.

You get to race as one of a fairly rich selection of animal characters that look as if they just about failed to make the cut for Noah’s Ark; this includes a demented-looking Rhino called Bert, an enraged German pig called Albert, Monkeyboy (who I’m convinced moonlights as Rafiki from the Lion King) and possibly my favourite being what I assume is a visually-impaired hamster known simply as Eugene (the poor little guy never had a chance). Also in the running are Jimmy Cats, who sounds like a long-time member of a successful criminal organisation, Sonny Crocker (the obvious name choice for a crocodile) and Elton the Dog, who I’m sorry to say is simply a dog named Elton with no imaginary back-story whatsoever.

Playing GoKartGo Turbo itself is no different to all other third-person perspective racing games. Both acceleration and steering are achieved simply with the directional buttons. Occasional speed-booster strips are strewn across the track which are more effective than any idiotic ‘go-faster stripes’ you see placed inexplicably on some cars. Also, being a fantasy racing game likely to be loosely based on the legendary Mario Cart, you also have the ability to throw various objects and items at your rivals that would make any Formula 1 race instantly more entertaining to watch and infinitely more dangerous to participate in.

While playing as each character listed above doesn’t actually give you any particular advantage over the other, your ability to acquire various objects of comical disruption (also briefly mentioned above) is where you gain the advantage during the race. Objects range from fireworks (used as a mortar-like projectile and not simply for a visually pleasing display), anvils, speed boosters and a spherical four-wheeled seeker-bomb that would make Wile E. Coyote feel at home (I’m pretty sure all proceeds from these  go to ACME). When used correctly (and it really does takes some practice), these weapons can give you the slight advantage needed to edge past your opponents.

Since variety is the spice of life, the ability to choose from 4 different racing tracks definitely makes this game a tasty dish with depth of flavour worthy of consideration as your main course. With races taking place in the cheerful and child-friendly confines of areas known as Sunflower fields, Chicken Ranch, Watermill Mine and Harvest Road, the game certainly has more life and replay value than some other more basic games of its type. I found myself wanting to edge into first place in all four zones of harmless competitive racing, making the game more effective at keeping my attention than your average racing title or shiny moving object.

Lasting playability in this game also comes from its generous offering of three games modes. Single-race mode essentially allows you to practice the various zones and familiarise yourself with the feel of the game. Enter into Grand Prix to throw yourself at the mercy of random race selection and tournament-like gameplay. Finally, time trial allows the more meticulous and obsessive player free-reign over any track in order to shave valuable seconds from your virtual performance, and probably consume several hours of your actual life.

As with most other racing games that were ever conceived of, created and played, the object of the game is to remain in first place from beginning to end, or if you fall behind, to battle your way back to the top spot. This is easier said than done, however, since the slightest error can drag you kicking and screaming into last place with seemingly no hope of catching up. Even grazing the edge of a patch of grass or dipping a single wheel into an inconveniently-placed oil spillage can ruin your day, making it frustratingly difficult to even crawl back into 7th place to save what is left of your racing dignity.

Though I generally enjoyed playing GoKartGo Turbo, there are most a few minor setbacks which, while not being significant enough to ruin the game, certainly made it a little harder to warm to. I was somewhat annoyed and felt inconvenienced by the camera angle that follows your car, which is just marginally too flat and lacking in flexibility/movement for my liking. It makes turning and viewing your surroundings more difficult and challenging, though not in a manner which you would want from a racing game. Since a game like this pretty much relies on actually being able to properly control the character you are racing and guide him through his surroundings as quickly as possible, I found myself getting occasionally frustrated at what first seemed to be a minor problem.

Admittedly, it is almost impossible to play a racing game of this type without comparing it to Mario Cart, or at least feeling like Mario Cart has boldly set the standard for all cheerful and light-hearted racing games that followed. However, it is important to judge all aspects of the game on their individual merit and not be concerned with looking at it through glasses tinted all shades of ‘Mario Cart’ (and subsequent games for different consoles and platforms). After all, this game stands on its own merit in its appeal to various audiences, from first-time gamer to those with more virtual racing experience.   

Of course these characters could never hope to fill the shoes of Mario, Luigi and the entire ensemble of the ‘Mario Cart’ cast; this is just simply too formidable a reputation to live up to. Nonetheless, a game such as this requires variety; the selection of characters available at your fingertips and X Forms ‘Go Cart Go: Turbo’ provides this variety, along with a little amusement and imagination to boot. The assortment of modes and zones of gameplay give the game more depth than your average racing amusement can offer, and the relative difficulty of getting and staying ahead is a satisfying challenge to overcome. Think Mario Cart with a tighter budget.