- Release Date: May 15, 2012
- Publisher: Nexon
- Developer: Nexon
- Genre: Racing
KartRider Dash is a car-racing style Facebook game developed by South Korea-based Nexon. In the game, players control their customized kart and compete with other worldwide players in go-kart competitions. Different from those car-racing simulators for hardcore gamers, KartRider Dash features casual and wacky nature. During the races, players need to grab various power-up items scattered randomly on the courses to delay or crash your opponents, which is the highlight of this game. Power-up items include positive buffs like Power Nitro which gives you a temporary speed boost, Magnet that can make you quickly catch up with the player it targets. Debuff power-ups include homing missile which can be launched at a random player in the front, Banana Peels which can be placed on the course as hazard, Water Bomb that is fired to trap multiple opponents, and etc.
The main menu of the game is simple and direct. Everything from racing mode selection and item shop can be directly toggled on the same screen. Kart body selection varies depending on your character level. However, I found that those kart bodies don’t look quite different from each other, they can only be distinguished from each other based on their color themes. Changing kart bodies cannot increase the performance of the kart, but players can fit them with kart engines. But sadly, engine is the only kart body that can affect the performance of your karts. The statistic of an engine is just broken down into three categories: Acceleration, Maximum Speed and Handling, offering very limited customization options for players. Something new called “auto block” is introduced into the game, auto block is the equippable item that can neutralize harmful effect of power-up items. It is a premium item and you can equip up to two auto block in a single match. I personally do not like this system very much, because it conflicts with the game’s random risk/reward feature and deteriorates the gameplay.
Being a top player, you surely need to master the art of drifting in the game. The basic tutorial does not cover this advanced racing skill, but the game does include a training course for drifting practice. You can access the training through clicking on the “practice” tab on the left hand side of the main menu. Again, during the practice, I found a display problem, which is also typically found in most 3rd person car-racing games. The camera view is set from a fixed distance away from the kart, so when I do drift in some narrow courts, chances are that the roadside fences will block my view and prevent me from seeing my kart. This is a serious problem that hampers successful drifting. From my point of view, this problem should be eliminated if the camera perspective had been placed slightly above the kart. So I’m really looking forward to seeing a small update to fix the problem.
KartRider Dash does contain a series of courts ranging from city downtown, beachside, jungle to Egypt featuring pyramids and canyons. But unfortunately, players are not able to pick which courses to race on when they host a match, because the game automatically selects courses in random. Furthermore, the game comes with a “Buddy mode”, but it is also ridiculous that you are not able to pick which players you would like to compete with, which probably should be the most fun in games of this kind.
Overall, from my own point of view, KartRider Dash seems to be a rushed product in terms of some aspects as said above: Players are unable to select maps and invite friends, cannot adjust the view perspective while coming across the pesky camera angel problem, so it is far less than satisfactory. I won’t recommend this game to any players, car-racing game veterans or beginners.
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