Will Nintendo ever deign to release a mobile version of Mario Kart? Maybe. Who knows? But if or until that happens, us iOS gamers will have to make do with off-brand Mario Kart-alikes like Mobiteos’ Safari Kart (out now, $2.99).
Generic but passably made, Safari Kart is an okay-ish way to kill a few hours. It’s got most of the basic kart racer trappings down pat, including colorful visuals, a roster of cutesy characters, inventively designed tracks, and weapons and power-ups aplenty. The game is structured around a 12-event Career mode, which can be played at 3 unlockable difficulty levels: Normal, Fast and Super Fast. When played on Normal, Safari Kart is a disappointingly tame and toothless affair. Rival racers don’t pose much of a threat, and it’s pretty easy to zoom straight to the front of the pack and stay there until you reach the finish line. It’s a real shame the game starts out so blandly dull, because it means it doesn’t make the best of first impressions.
Thankfully, things get more exciting once you unlock the higher difficulty levels. The ante is upped here with a greater sense of speed and significantly more capable and aggressive opponents, so be prepared to fight a little harder for a win. Still, Safari Kart isn’t a wildly difficult game to master by any stretch, and the majority of players will breeze through everything it has to offer in, at most, a matter of hours. The brevity and relative easiness of the single-player campaign wouldn’t be much of an issue if Safari Kart had an online multiplayer mode (that’s where kart racers usually really come into their own, after all), or stuff like character customizations and vehicle upgrades to work towards, but sadly it doesn’t.
The end result is a fleetingly entertaining, but ultimately forgettable kart racer. Unless you’re a die-hard fan of the genre and don’
This Mario Kart-alike is mildly fun while it lasts, but it doesn’t last long and doesn’t offer much in the way of extra content to keep you interested/playing. Here’s hoping the developers consider adding features like vehicle upgrades and a multiplayer mode in a future update, because the game could be so much bigger and better than it currently is.