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First started in late 2007, Kasey's Mobile Game Review (then just a regular feature of Kasey's Korner) started as a simul-post between here and IGN. Later I realized there's no reason to post it twice, when I can use the traffic on my own site. so, here we are, in 2010, and the mobile game industry has grown a bit. What do you think?

KMGR of "Disneyland Kart Racer"

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Image via Wikipedia

Disneyland Kart Racer is a very derivative product... It's basically Mario Kart on Disney-esque tracks, with Disney characters, and not the usual ones you'd expect either. Instead, they had to do with the famous rides. The camera is horrendous. The controls are weird and unresponsive, and the result is a kart racing game that's both good and bad at the same time, and ends up as merely average.

The tracks in DKR are based on the rides at Disneyland, such as FantasyLand, Pirates of Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain, and Space Mountain, and you get to race as some of the famous characters from those rides. However, I must admit that it's been decades since I've been there, and thus I don't recall any of these names: Jane (cowgirl?), Pete (pirate), Misty (sprite), Starman (space mountain, I guess), Ezra (zombie?), and Yeti (Big Thunder Mountain, of course). Each is rated differently in speed, acceleration, and strength, except those ratings and how they affect your race is NOT explained. The ONLY help in the game is which buttons controls what. As you win races, you may win stars which you can use to "improve" the character you're racing as. And different characters have different max for each of the 3 ratings. However, as there's no explanation on what they do, there's no much point is playing with the different stars, other than as another "achievement".

No all tracks and characters are available at the beginning. You'll need to win some races before they can be unlocked. Each race can be done at low, medium, or high difficulty levels.

The actual race is VERY much like Mario Kart (tm) or any of the various cartoon kart racers. There are the insane jumps, the various goodie crates with weapons (like laser, dynamite, and more). There's also nitro charge, with very limited use. All races are 3 laps each, and the AI is competitive in the medium level, and can be really tough at the high difficulty level. The main problem in the race is control sensitivity, and camera angle problem.

Control in this game is iffy. I have played a TON of driving games on my cell, (over a dozen reviewed here, Nitro Racing, NFS Shift, NFS Undercover, NFS Most Wanted, Fast and the Furious: Pinkslip, Crash Bandicoot Kart Racing, and many more), and this is the most unresponsive game I've played. The karts only respond to "gentle" inputs. If you want to turn in tigher circle, you have to HOLD DOWN the turn key for longer period of time. If you just want a little turn, you have to use a quick tap. You can NOT use the opposite turn key to "correct" the steer angle. If you do that, your kart suddenly turns full tilt the other way. In some tracks, hitting the track boundary causes a "spin", reseting your speed. These karts don't "re-center" the steering when you let go, at least not for a second or two. This forces you to learn a new way of controlling the vehicle, and that leads to MAJOR frustration.

The camera angle is horrendous. You are racing in a 3rd person from-behind view, except it is LOW to the ground, so you can't see any major dips in the landscape. What's more, the camera angle doesn't adjust when you make a SHARP TURN. So while the kart looks like it's turning you don't really see the track any more except it goes off one side of the screen. This is simply unacceptable when games like NFS:Shift shows that 3rd person from-behind camera CAN be done properly.

The game is "non-violent" as all of the "weapons" you can use just causes the other vehicle to 'spin' (like Taz, but that's a WB character) for a few seconds. And all of the weapons are "auto-homing", in that there's no real way for enemy to "dodge" them, except maybe the dynamite. So it doesn't really matter which weapon you got or use. The only interesting powerups are a) the recharge, which gives you a full nitro charge, and b) the rainbow "shield", which protects you against weapons.

Each track has a 'best time' record, a "mission" (such as "don't hit the sides" or "win without using any nitro"), and some "Mickey balloons" you can collect (about 2 per lap). Those lead to "achievements", like "Collect all Mickeys" or "Max out one character" or "Unlock all tracks".

I want to like this game, but I can't, not when there are much better "kart racers" out there. Even the Crash Bandicoot Kart Racing is better than this one. Graphics are good, but not THAT good, though it is full 3D. Again, it's the camera angles.

Overall rating: 6.5 out of 10
Pros: nice tracks, cute racers, interesting missions and other stuff to do even if you do win, 3 difficulty levels
Cons: weird control issues, bad camera in turns, nothing original except the characters
Verdict: there are better racers out there, only get it if you are a Disneyland diehard

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