Avatar Karting – Xbox Live Indie Games Review
This is the follow up to render code games’ Avatar racedrome another racing game which had massive success in 2010 on the XBLIG, if you loved Avatar Racedrome you will like this as the concept is similar other than the fact the racedrome tracks are now racing circuits and the vehicles are now Karts. The game comes into the market place at only 80 microsoft points which works out as around $1 a bargain for any game you play for longer than ten minutes and the price fits perfectly for the standard of the game.
The game comes with 16 tracks which can be played reverse as well giving you 32 tracks to explore and burn rubber on, the tracks are all in a similar setting with large areas on the sites to fall of the track on corners making the game more challenging than its predecessor. On single player you are giving different game choices they are: single race, Time trial, short championship and full championship. Single race is self explanatory with one race on any circuit with 1-30 laps giving you a quick option get into the game. The short championship has 8 races against 7 computer opponents and the full championship gives you 24 races although you will possibly get bored with the game by then, each race gives you points which are added up to decide who is overall champion of the race series. Then there is time trial which looks like the most thought out mode on single player, the timing system is brilliant with feedback from each sector and your overall time as well as a target time giving you plenty of information on your HUD, when you have finished a lap you time goes onto the global and local rankings. Surprisingly there are lots of times on the lap records from other users making it all a bit more competitive. Other game modes include Split screen so you can battle with a freind locally and Xbox live play, In xbox live play it is very easy to find people to play with and the loading times are very quick.The overall expeirence online is brilliant it flows perfectly with no glitches my only negative point on it is there is no voice or headset options but other than that it is one of the best online indie games around as was the previous game render code games made. The worse thing about the game play in my opinion is there is only one kart design something that racedrome also suffered from, I think it needs to fully use the ranking system to create some sort of unlock for getting higher points so you get different cars that handle differently.Another negative point is the game still hasn’t found its category, is it a simulation race game or a fun mario kart style racer it fits in the middle with its turbo and graphics but I think would sell even better if it included things such as power ups. Overall the gameplay deserves a 7/10 mainly for the online play and the different options on single player but it is still missing that spark to make the game that bit more exciting.
The sound track is a bit random with nothing to do with racing or having a racing sort of feel but it is an improvement on the previous games music. The sound track gets annoying if you leave the game on one menu for to long and instead of looping should go onto another track, however the in game sounds from the cars make up for this sounding very realistic with the classic karting engine and tyre screeching sounds as well as background music to fill in the blanks. The woman who speaks at the beggining of the game and the end to countdown is very annoying and robbotic, she sounds like a text to speach system and I think a mechanic would be a better voice to us as the woman does get annoying and makes the coundown feel cheap,even music to countdown would of been better. Overall the sound is 8/10 it would be better if it wasn’t for the sound track in menus since the kart sounds are good.
There is no real graphical update from the previous game, had this game been on the wii the graphics would seem perfectly normal of a mass produced game that would sell thousands of copies, and even in the XBLIG these graphics are of a good standard. I always think avatars in Indie games look a bit strange like they aren’t in the game but stuck on with glue this is something which occurs in this game and most avatar games I have played. The track graphics are good but the scenary could be improved as there doesn’t seem to be enough stands of buildings but that is being picky. If render code games make another racing game I would like to see a complete update on the graphics as this would also help the idea mentioned earlier about the game not having an exact category to fit into. Overall the graphic are of what is expected of this sort of game and nothing less or more than that so I would give it a 5/10
If it wasn’t for the leaderboards and online game modes the lasting appeal would be at best average but when you have a online mode you could play it for months afterwards and still have fun, this is also helped by the time trial which I found addictive as I wanted to climb up the board and get the quickest time for the lap. I think the championships and single races will get boring after a couple of weeks but you will still be playing time trials and online for much longer, because of this I give the lasting appeal 7/10
Overall I think it is a good game with some brilliant online features and it will no doubt have as much success has avatar racedrome, I will give the game an overall percentage of about 70% with the sound, and graphics improved this could easily become one of the best racing games on the Xbox indie games market.
Review summary Pros:
Brilliant Online Features
sound is a bit random, graphics are mediocre