Game Review: DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing (Xbox Series X)

Bamtang Games knows karting games (responsible for the Nickelodeon Kart Racers), yet still doesn’t understand the fundamentals of how to make a karting game enjoyable. All while adding unnecessary padding to a simple formula.

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Featuring a litany of DreamWorks characters from numerous films and franchises (20 characters overall, 12 of which need to be unlocked) and featuring level designs based off the worlds that the character’s exist in. If you’re expecting it to feel authentically Dreamworks, you’re in luck, aside from one area, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

On paper, DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing seems like it is going to be a good karting game. After all, it only needs to copy the standard-bearer (Mario Kart) when it comes to gamplay, and it’s good to go.

In reality though, it’s a severely flawed racer with some frustrating level designs, janky controls that make the faster speeds on certain levels extremely hazardous, many pointless powerups, and an AI that is far too competent on the harder difficulties. These are the basics, and DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing struggles to get them right.

Now, throw in a ‘garage’ system that requires currency (musical notes) picked up in races, yet you are limited to a small amount you can actually pick up, and can lose them when attacked, and all the frustrations boil over. It certainly doesn’t help that the changing out of kart gear often has very little bearing on your race. This is because the AI is designed to stay with you regardless of how well you drive, and are obsessed with attacking you, and you alone.

Those who have played Bamtang’s Nickelodeon kart games will be all too familiar with this, and it makes a lot of the experience unenjoyable.

How can you get so much wrong? What is the point of a speed boost power up that the AI is able to keep up with? What is the point of attack weapons that only slightly inconvenience other racers? What is the purpose of ‘shortcuts’ that end up being longer than the main track? Everywhere you turn, DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing presents issue after issue.

If it’s this frustrating for an adult, imagine what the target audience (younger players) are going to feel playing it. Although, they might at least get some laughs out of the horrendous voice acting.

Of course, the famous people who voiced these characters aren’t going to be providing the voices here, that’s a given, but surely better attempts could have been made to at least try and replicate the original voices? Every character sounds wrong, but perhaps the worst is Shrek. You need to hear the voice to believe it, right before you press mute because the music isn’t worth listening to either.

A load of characters, plenty of tracks, different cups and speeds, some different modes, and a ton of garage parts to unlock, might offer plenty of longevity, but not many are going to want to spend this much time playing the game. It’s simply a bad karting game, and once again, proof that attempts to change the formula just don’t work.


  • Carl Fisher

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DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing (Xbox Series X)
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