Sour Patch Battle Karts Review
Is it a little too obvious to say that, for all the sweetness and light in Sour Patch Battle Karts, there’s something underlying play that gives it a slightly bitter after taste? Whether that’s a cliché or not, this attempt to cash in on the cute and cuddly side of candy – in what can only be described as a fairly overt take on Mario Kart’s battle stages – isn’t quite the sugary affair it paints itself as. Indeed, it’s actually a little drab.
To Sour Patch Battle Karts’ credit, that’s not something that’s immediately evident. Indeed, first impressions for most will likely be rather positive, with the game’s arena based levels offering the kind of visuals many console racers would have struggled to attain not all too long ago.
The game’s ability to render its 3D stages with such clarity is, perhaps, down to their relative simplicity. This is no racer and, as such, there’s no need for grand tracks or scores of scenery. Instead, each stage consists of nothing more than a few obstacles and boxes containing the oh-so-vital power ups – the task at hand being to use them to take out your rivals before they have a chance to do the same to you.
It’s certainly a simple enough ethic. Success stems from your ability to manoeuvre your kart around the levels at pace. This both helps you to pick up power ups before your foe, as well as avoid their fire.
All such controls needed to do so are equally straightforward. As you might expect, the arrow keys handle everything from acceleration and braking to steering left and right, while ‘z’ applies the handbrake – essential for the sharp twists and turns required to both dodge attacks and accurately launch your own – and ‘x’ fires whatever power up you happen to have equipped at the time.
It’s the aiming, however, that’s key. Some of the power ups only come with a very short range, making it entirely possible to be first to each and every box, only to squander any advantage by missing your targets time and again.
In truth, it’s these short range power ups that actually offer little benefit. Equipping your kart with two boxing gloves, for instance, is only much use when you’re in especially close contact with any rivals – which doesn’t tend to happen all too often given the expanse of the stages on offer.
In stark comparison, the forcefields, bombs, whirlwinds and missiles that make an appearance are far more palatable, each one helping you sap out any remaining life in the scores of karts buzzing around the place. The only problem is there aren’t enough of them.
But while taking out rival karts with such weaponry is especially easy in the first couple of stages, it soon becomes a mite more difficult – and not always in a fair manner. Bugs do have a part to play throughout Sour Patch Battle Karts, with some questionable AI causing karts to drive head first into walls with alarming frequency.
It’s a quirk that’s not a problem when viewed from afar (indeed, it’s arguably rather amusing), but when you happen to get caught behind one or even two karts with a death wish, you can find yourself stuck with absolutely no way of escaping until the aggressors get their act together, or your kart’s health is kicked into touch.
It smacks of a game stifled by its own laziness. While the concept is solid and, in theory, there’s much fun to be had by zooming around in a kart and firing upon rivals with aplomb, in practice their just isn’t enough variety in Sour Patch Battle Karts‘ power ups or, indeed, levels to make it worth your while for all too long.