Cartoon Network Racing Review
Let me start off this review by admitting my bias--I love cartoons so my review might reflect that. With Cartoon Network Racing, the title says it all. You get to assume the role of some of the famous Cartoon Network characters and duke it out in souped racing vehicles and courses based on their cartoon worlds.
While I played most of the game as my favorite character from the set of TV shows, Dexter, boy genius, there is a wide range of the characters that you might expect. You can play the “innocent” Powerpuff Girls to the rather slow-witted Johnny Bravo. Other appearances include characters from “Courage the Cowardly Dog”, “Cow and Chicken” and “I am Weasel.”
Beyond the racing aspect, you will have access to two non-traditional racing gameplay options methods to gain an edge on your opponents. During the course you can pick up items to help you like in Mario Kart. Some items worth noting are the Chili Booster which gives you a speed boost, a variety of missiles ranging from dumb to genius that will eliminate opponents, and, my personal favorite, the wheel spikes that will send your opponents into a spin as you ram into them. Further, there are mystery item boxes. You never know what’s in them, but they add some extra fun to the game.
The second addition would be the Toon Powers. As you successfully use your items against your opponents or as you pick up the Toon Power Stars that are located on each course, you build up a power meter. Each character gains a unique power once you’ve activated your full power meter. Courage, for example, has a shriek power that will knock the opponents into a spin. It puts some additional fun into game and gives you something to build up and strategize over whether to use it right away or save it till you really need it.
Another great feature in this game is the Toon-Up Shop where you can use your coins to purchase upgrades, additional tracks, and additional characters. To proceed to the higher difficulty levels, you’ll need to visit this shop to get a “souped-up upgrade to your vehicle.” The coins for this shop are awarded at the end of each set of races based on your performance.
Graphics are very colorful and vibrant as you might expect for a cartoon-based game. The characters are well animated and are portrayed from their respective shows with great detail. The cars, being new designs, were creative and fit their respective drivers well. Two particularly amusing cars were Courage with his pumpkins and Dexter with his bubble car on tank treads. My only issue with the graphics is some of the obstacles on the tracks are 2D and flat, such as the monkeys in the Desert Island and the cacti in the middle of the track in another level.
The music is based on the theme songs to the Cartoon Network shows. If you aren’t a fan, they could get annoying after a while, but they were enjoyable to me. The songs were very well done and brought something more to the levels you were playing. My personal favorite was the cow and chicken song as it almost made me laugh as I played this level. The sounds were also well placed and used appropriately in the game. One annoying sound effect though was the passing sound effect. It keeps playing as you passed someone, then they pass you, then you pass, and then they pass, etc. It got to be a bit overwhelming.
Sadly, one feature that I was unable to test was multiplayer. It doesn’t have Internet play available, so with my only option being a local DS network and with no one with a DS locally to play with it, I was unable to try this feature.
If you are in need of an extremely enjoyable racing game that you can play anywhere on your DS, I recommend that you pick up “Cartoon Network Racing.” Even if you aren’t a fan of Cartoon Network in particular, you should still get the same sense of enjoyment out of this game as any cartoon fanatic would.