Review – DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing

Licensed tie-in games have come a long way since the shovelware garbage we use to get back in the late 90s and early to mid 2000s. Still, these types of games remain a bit of a mixed bag. For every good licensed kart racing game, like Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 or Hot Wheels Unleashed 2, you have a disaster like Race with Ryan. So when I saw the trailer for DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing, I was cautiously optimistic. After all, DreamWorks has some incredible IPs, and there’s a lot they could pull from. Although, simply having access to good IPs doesn’t guarantee a great game, as Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3 has shown us. So does DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing  put the pedal to the metal, or does it just crash and burn?

DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing Far Far Away

I see you, Mongo!

In DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing you can play as twenty different racers over twenty different tracks. The roster features a nice assortment of characters from DreamWorks’ most successful IPs, such as Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, and Kung Fu Panda, to name a few. Each character has their own karts and stats, which are divided into the categories Speed, Turbo, Handling, Charisma, and Weight. Speed determines how fast you can go, Turbo is the strength and duration of your speed boosts, Handling affects how well you drift and make turns, Charisma increases Troll Surprises and frequency, and Weight is how heavy you are. Being a higher weight means you’ll be affected less by crashing into another player, but you’ll also sink into rough terrain more, drastically reducing your speed.


Each level has its own types of hazards, such as Dragon shooting fireballs at you in the tower.

Now even though Trolls are present in DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing, none are playable characters. Although, the Bergens, Bridget and King Gristle, can eventually be unlocked. Instead, the Trolls act as hosts for the race. Each alters the experience in different ways. For example, King Trollex adds more boost pads, Poppy adds more musical notes, and Barb spreads rock hazards across the courses. They’ll also provide Troll Surprises, which can be earned by collecting music notes throughout the track.

Troll Surprises give you speed boosts, perfect for when you’re driving over rough terrain, or after crashing and you want to recover quickly. However, in addition to giving you a speed boost, they will also provide another unique function. For example, Soap Bubbles will leave a slippery trail, Bug Spiral surrounds you with bugs who will grab musical notes for you, and Poppy’s Cowbell activates a boost up to three times.

DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing Baby Corp

Each projectile item is unique to that character, such as Po’s dumplings.

Like all other kart racing games, Item Boxes are spread across the tracks. Many of the items have functions we’ve seen in most other kart racers, but with their own distinct DreamWorks designs to them. Puss’ Guitar creates more musical notes, Poisoned Apples stick to a kart and detonate later, and Rotten Fish make the track slippery like the bananas in Mario Kart.

Even though there are heavy influences from other kart racers, it’s nice to see that DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing does have some of its own original ideas. Most notably are the magic Lyres that can be found around each course. Driving into them reveals temporary, rainbow hued Magic Paths. These usually result in shortcuts or Golden Lucky Tokens, which are collectibles unique to each track.

Golden Lucky Token

The DreamWorks version of Rainbow Road.

Speaking of the tracks, the level designs in DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing is fantastic. Each track is completely unique and designed after something memorable in one of the DreamWorks’ films. The Spirit Realm track is taken from Kung Fu Panda 3, and players race along a golden glowing track. Master Oogway’s residence can be found there, as well as Kai, the villain from that film. From the Shrek films is the land of Far Far Away, which features the giant gingerbread man, Mongo, Shrek’s onion carriage, and billboards of the Fairy Godmother. The Dark Forest track from Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is probably one of my favorites, starting off with the colorful woods from Perrito’s vision, then moving into the Cave of Lost Souls from Puss’ vision, and finally ending in the cosmic plane where the shattered remains of the Wishing Star can be seen.

DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing Cave of Lost Souls

Driving into the Magical Lyres opens up secret Magical Pathways, which are key to finding secrets and shortcuts.

Each track is extremely vibrant and well detailed, as are the character models. It’s obvious that a lot of care and attention to detail went into making DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing. With that said, I do have to address the one big issue with the game: the voice acting. None of the original voice actors are reprising their roles here, and it’s very noticeable. The vocal performances range from barely passable to downright cringeworthy. On top of that, the characters banter with each other almost nonstop, so you’re forced to hear the thrift store version of these beloved characters ad nausem.

Thankfully, the rest of the sound design is amazing. The soundtrack is a brilliant blending of the musical scores from the films, mixed with energetic, fast-paced melodies that make it the perfect fit for a kart racer. The sound effects are wonderful as well, with great vehicle sounds and zany effects for the items and Troll Surprises.

Spirit Realm

You can’t hit me, Kai!

I was delighted to discover just how great DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing is. This is honestly one of the best kart racers around, and a genuine competitor to Mario Kart. Despite the disappointing vocal performances, the rest of the game is marvelous. The controls are tight and responsive, the character roster is robust, and the level designs are really inventive. Pair that with an awesome soundtrack that retains the spirit of your favorite films, but throws its own souped up spin on it, and you’ve you a recipe for success. If you’re looking for a solid kart racer to entertain you until Nintendo decides to finally release a new Mario Kart, then look no further than DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing.

Graphics: 9.0

A gorgeous game with some truly inventive level designs that showcase their most popular films.

Gameplay: 9.0

The controls are smooth and responsive. You can actually feel the differences between the various karts and environments as well.

Sound: 6.0

Almost none of the original voice actors are present in this game, and vocal performances range from barely passable to downright cringeworthy. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is excellent.

Fun Factor: 7.5

A robust character roster, creative level designs, and tight controls make DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing a blast to play. The only thing hampering the experience is the absence of the original voice actors.

Final Verdict: 8.0

DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on PS5.

A copy of DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing was provided by the publisher.