Smurfs Kart Review

I’m led to believe that, back in the 80s, The Smurfs were everywhere. Growing up in the nineties, I had some entertaining run-ins with the little blue creatures, but it was never one of my favourite shows. That said, it’s always been something I’ve respected.

Fast forward decades, to this very week, and The Smurfs are still going, although not as strongly. To that extent, Microids has worked with Test Drive Unlimited developer, Eden Games, to create Smurfs Kart. The result is a competent and enjoyable kart racer, albeit one that borrows heavily from Mario Kart without shame.

Smurfs Kart provides twelve playable characters, all of whom have their own special powers. For instance, one becomes a tornado, another throws a piece of cake that gives others hiccups (makes them jump uncontrollably) and so on. This list includes all of the major players that I knew of, like Papap Smurf and Smurfette, but it also offers deep cuts like Clockwork Smurf, Astro Smurf, Clumsy Smurf, Handy Smurf and Smurfblossom, all with their own unique karts, animations, sounds and special abilities.

These former friends turned bitter opponents race through around the same number of tracks, provided you don’t count the mirrored versions separately. There are three different cups, each with four tracks, which span Smurf Village, Gargamel’s Castle and areas in-between. For the most part, these courses are well designed, creative and fun to race on, although some are definitely better than others. That’s a given, though, I guess.

Each of the aforementioned cups can be played in ‘Fun’ speed, or in a faster version, like you’d find in Mario Kart. The idea is that one is easy and the other is more challenging, but I didn’t find a big difference between the two. At first everything about this game was challenging, making me think it might be too hard for kids, but then things got easier once I played more. The AI holds no punches though.

Smurfs Kart’s core gameplay is very similar to its most iconic peer. You race three laps around each track, pick up power ups that are similar to those found in Mario Kart (like leaves instead of mushrooms, and another projectile instead of shells), and do battle against others who’ll do almost anything to steal your spot. If you want to do well in this game, you’ll want to get used to drifting, which also gives you up to three differently powered speed boosts depending on length.

The karts handle quite well, and although the drifting is a bit different it’s not hard to get used to. Overall, the controls were fine and tough to complain about, at least once I turned the assists off. I didn’t know they were on, as the menu tells you very little, but I was wondering why my kart would sometimes steer on its own.

I was also disappointed by the fact that the A button is used to drive the karts, because the right trigger is a much better option. The A button on my Series S controller is also a bit finicky. In the end, I changed the controller’s button assignments so that the A button became the LB button and vice versa. This wasn’t possible through the game, but it was through the Xbox Accessories app.

Once you finish a cup, you’ll be ranked against the other competitors by way of points earned for placing in each of the four races. This leads to a cutscene featuring the winners celebrating on a podium, as expected.

Those who want to play something different than straight cup races can also check out Smurfs Kart’s other options, including time trials, free racing and multiplayer. However, the multiplayer is limited to couch-based confines, meaning you’ll need to have one to three other friends or family members to play with. I didn’t get a chance to check it out, because I had nobody to play with.

Smurfs Kart is aimed at all audiences, and its family friendly (and license fitting) visuals work well. There’s lots of colour, a good amount of detail and some nice animations. The game also sounds good, thanks to some quality music that differs by track. It runs well, to boot.

Smurfs Kart was a nice surprise. I didn’t expect a lot from it, but ended up enjoying it once I got used to things. It’s a well made, competent and enjoyable kart racer, albeit one with a bit of a challenging start. It helps that this is a budget priced title, which makes it even easier to recommend.

This review is based on the Xbox Series S version of the game, which we were provided with.

Reader Rating0 Votes
The Good Stuff
Budget priced
Solid kart racing
Mirrored versions of each track
Lots of Smurfs to choose from
The Not-So-Good Stuff
Very similar to Mario Kart
Could feature more tracks
Kids may find it challenging