Review – Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix

The original Nickelodeon Kart Racers was released in 2018, and well, there’s no other way of saying this: it was crap. It was really, really bad, with clunky controls, poor presentation, and not a lot of content. The announcement of a sequel, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix, had me worried and excited at the same time. Maybe the developers would finally fix its predecessor’s issues, as well as include more Nickelodeon characters in order to boost its lackluster roster. At the same time, my previous coverage of GameMill’s titles, such as Zombieland: Double Tap, really didn’t make me feel confident that they would deliver a good product, especially considering its younger target demographic.

I was glad to find out I shouldn’t have worried. Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix isn’t bad. In fact, it’s actually pretty good. Surprisingly good. This is easily the best GameMill-published game I have ever played, and one of the more robust licensed titles released in 2020.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2

A race comprised of eight Squidwards. Beautiful.

Let me be clear. This is a Mario Kart clone in every shape and form. The cups are set in the same way. The drifting mechanics, despite not being as intuitive, are performed just like they do in Mario Kart. If you press the jump button right after leaving a ramp, you will also perform a little stunt and get a small boost. The item selection, despite featuring Nickelodeon themes, is exactly the same from Mario Kart as well. Even to the point that it features a “homage” to the Blue Shell, in the shape of a Queen Jellyfish from Spongebob Squarepants.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Mario Kart is the standard all kart racers should aim for, so I’m glad Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 just decided to copy what works in that franchise and adapt those mechanics onto a Nick-friendly setting. It’s fun, fast-paced, and absolutely chaotic. Especially in the equivalent of the 150cc mode, in which the amount of items flying onscreen is borderline ludicrous.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2

“Hi floor! Make me a sammich!”

The game has some interesting features that aren’t present in Mario Kart, however. You can customize a “crew” of sorts, which act more as a small deck of perks that can help you out during a race. You can choose two crew members who can provide small buffs, such as getting a boost right after being hit by a projectile, and a chief, a leader of your crew that provides you with an ultimate special move whenever you fill in a “slime meter”. You do this by either by running through puddles of slime or by collecting green coins scattered throughout the tracks. These special moves range from a gigantic turbo boost to some overpowered projectiles. You can unlock new crew members and chiefs by winning cups or completing various challenges in a separate mode.

One thing that impressed me in Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 is the sheer amount of things you can unlock. Despite being a game aimed at kids, it pulls no punches when it comes to unlockables. More than half of the more than thirty racers (a vast improvement over the game’s predecessor) are locked from the get-go, for instance. You can unlock them either by winning a cup or by defeating bosses in the Challenge mode. You can also unlock new car engines, tires, exhausts, and paintjobs, but you need to further spend coins in order to actually add them to your collection. It takes hours to unlock everything that’s available in the game and I for one loved that.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2

Slime. Slime everywhere. Also, what the hell are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles doing in here??

Unlike its predecessor, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 features a somewhat good presentation. The graphics are crisp and colorful, with all characters resembling their cartoon counterparts without feeling out of place in a polygonal setting. Most tracks are fairly well-designed as well. The framerate is, for the most part, pretty good. It mostly sticks to 60 frames per second, but it stutters every now and then, either slowing down or just freezing for a second at a time.

The only thing that’s actually really underwhelming in here is the sound design. The game lacks licensed songs and voice acting altogether. The soundtrack is basically comprised of generic and uninspired “happy” tunes that are barely worth paying attention to. It’s just white noise. The sound effects are undercooked as well. You can barely hear engine noises, and explosion effects don’t pack any punch. I ended up playing the game while listening to my music library with my headphones on after a while. I definitely wasn’t missing anything out at all.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2

Korra driving a convertible feels totally out of place, but it’s still awesome.

Despite being a bit janky in its sound and gameplay departments, I have to say I’m very impressed with how fun Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 is. It’s a complete carbon copy of Mario Kart, without a doubt, but that’s not a bad thing. The Nickelodeon setting is a perfect fit for a cartoonish kart racer, after all. It features great visuals, an immense roster of playable characters, and tons of unlockables. It’s a love letter to Nickelodeon and all of its classic cartoons, something both kids and adults can easily enjoy with a gigantic smile on their faces.


Graphics: 8.0

Characters are well-modeled and resemble their cartoon counterparts, despite the additional dimension. Tracks are vivid and colorful as well. The game’s performance is decent, but it’s prone to some framerate issues every now and then.

Gameplay: 7.0

The drifiting mechanics aren’t as intuitive as the ones from Mario Kart, but all in all, the gameplay is decent and responsive, even if it’s absolutely derivative.

Sound: 4.0

No voice acting whatsoever, no licensed music, underwhelming sound effects, and a very bland and uninspired soundtrack. They could (and should) have done so much more in here.

Fun Factor: 8.0

It’s a very pleasant surprise. There are tons of unlockables, lots of fun courses, and a impressive level of challenge, even for kart racing veterans.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix was provided by the publisher.