The Smurfs have been a cultural icon for over 60 years, so of course they’d be no strangers to the world of video games. Believe it or not but this is actually the second time The Smurfs have dipped their tiny blue toes into the kart racing genre, the first being Smurf Racer! (or 3, 2, 1, Smurf! For those in the PAL region) back in the early 2000s when kart racers were all the rage. Fast forward to today and we have Smurfs Kart, so let’s see how these little blue speed demons fare after getting behind the wheel for the first time in over 20 years.
What’s the most important thing for any racing game? It’s the controls. I’m glad to say that Smurfs Kart’s controls are very solid. The karts have a good sense of speed, turning is smooth, drifting is a little too tight at first but will come to feel natural very quickly. Overall, the general controls are very good and easy to grasp.
Smurfs Kart’s track design is very fun and imaginative and the track progression feels like a story. At first, you’ll be driving around Smurf-made tracks in the Smurf village, but soon you’ll be driving around different locales in the forest and then eventually ending up in the dark swamps surrounding Gargamel’s home. A personal favourite of mine is Dam Under Construction which, as the name suggests, has you racing on a dam that's under construction which has multiple levels to race on; the top level is the fastest but racers can easily be knocked off onto lower, slower levels.
One of The Smurfs’ biggest appeals is their ability to be immediately identifiable despite them all looking the same and wearing the same clothes, and Smurfs Kart nails that. Each character has their own unique kart that fits their personality and stands out amongst each other. Papa Smurf’s kart is old fashioned, Hefty Smurf has a bulky Hummer-looking kart, Farmer Smurf drives a tractor, etc. If that wasn’t enough, each character has their own signature item they can use in races, letting people choose which character they prefer the playstyle of.
- Tight controls
- Great track design
- Fun and enjoyable characters
The biggest thing keeping Smurfs Kart down is its lack of content. With a total of 12 tracks and the bog standard Grand Prix, Time Trials, local multiplayer modes and no online multiplayer, you will run out of things to do very quickly, even with the addition of mirrored tracks.
To try and mitigate the lack of content, Smurfs Kart has a sticker system which functions like in-game achievements. The thing is that these stickers do nothing and are just there for its own sake, and a lot of them tend to be either very grindy or worded poorly. One sticker is earned by “Smurfing Smurfs” a certain number of times, what does that even mean!?
Item balancing in kart racers is hard; you don’t want to be too lenient because then whoever is in first will never lose that position but you don’t want to be too strict otherwise good players will feel like they’re getting punished for being good. Unfortunately, Smurfs Kart is in the latter of the two categories; item boxes are on almost every corner of the track which leads to constant item usage, there's very little defensive items, Smurfs Kart’s equivalent of Mario Kart’s blue shell spawns way too often and almost every character’s unique item will either hit whoever is in first or all other racers. Smurfs Kart might be one of the most aggressive kart racers I’ve ever played.
- Severe lack of content
- Unnecessary achievement system
- Overly tuned items
Final Score: 6/10
While I did enjoy my short time with Smurfs Kart, the severe lack of content leaves much to be desired. I do suggest trying it out if you’re in the mood for something different, but just don’t expect it to blow you away.
Thank you for checking out our Smurfs Kart Switch review, thank you to Microids (via PLAION PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: