Also On: iOS/Android
Publisher: Humongous Entertainment
Developer: Most Wanted Entertainment/Anuman Interactive
Medium: Digital/3DS Card
I have always been an avid fan of Garfield. The comic strips, cartoons – heck, I even liked the first movie to some extent. I have yet to see a good videogame starring Garfield and his pals. Sure there were some 16-bit outings in the past, but these were merely forgettable cash-ins. I went into Garfield Kart with the hopes that we would finally see a game that is worthy of the fat, lovable orange cat… Well, this isn’t it.
Before we begin, I must say that this game is completely aimed at kids. Like ages 5 to 9. Anyone 10 and over will be bored in a microsecond. As you begin you are treated to a clunky menu giving you very basic options. There’s even a selection for “credits” which is largely one of the most useless selections on any game menu. After you navigate through the screens you can start with a Single Race, run a Time Trial on completed courses, or enter into a Grand Prix. The Tracks are presented with “Cups” much like Mario Kart and are named accordingly to associate with the Garfield world (i.e. The Lasagna Cup). You are only given the choice of using Garfield or his owner Jon to begin with, but more racers, Like Odie, are unlockable as you complete the cups. It largely doesn’t matter who you pick as most (if not all) racers and cars handle exactly the same. When you begin racing, the problems of Garfield Kart begin to shine through.
If there are 2 or more racers on the screen at any time in Garfield Kart, the framerate drops to a level comparable to a View Master slideshow. It was so bad that sometimes I would get passed by other racers and never see them since they clipped right by me. There are weapons scattered throughout each track, ranging from a little helpful, to completely useless. There are pies that act like the turtle shells from Mario Kart, smoking of magic wand that does, something (I couldn’t tell) and a shield that doesn't seem to block anything. Good luck actually placing in the top three in any race, since the CPU opponents always seem to be one step (and three places) ahead of you. Really, the only way you have a chance to get a win is by purchasing and using “Boosts” that you buy in the in game shop — using in game currency thank goodness. The only way I managed to squeeze out a few wins was to make use of these, and that just takes the fun out of winning.
Control is fairly responsive when you are not slogging through the atrocious framerate and strange glitches. There is no drifting, but it’s really not needed since you can take a corner with little to no effort. Strangely, the accelerator is mapped to the A button, with jump (or hop) and weapon use mapped to the shoulder buttons. This was hard to get used to, and makes for some lovely hand cramps. Unfortunately, you cannot change the button layout, with the only gameplay options being what language you play the game in. The graphics are less than stellar, with the characters only somewhat resembling the Garfield characters. It’s almost as if this was another bland kart racer with a Garfield skin applied. The tracks have very bland backgrounds and with the aforementioned problematic framerate they scroll horribly. Playing in 3D really hurts your eyes after a few minutes. This is The first 3DS game I have ever played where I HAD TO turn the 3D completely off after a very short time. Music sounds like stock wacky cartoon fare, almost like budget circus tunes you’d hear on a carousel, annoying and cheap. There are no voices at all, so don’t expect to get any of the comedy that Garfield and his pals are known for. I ended up turning everything down, but that didn’t help, because I was still playing the game.
This lackluster Nintendo 3DS port doesn't even offer any form of multiplayer mode (online or local) and it costs a whopping $29.99! The Android and iOS versions allow for Cross Play and even online races, with a better frame rate and cost a fraction of what this one does. The only reason this game was saved from a lower score is the fact that is aimed at very young kids, and many of the faults and issues will not matter to the little ones. This is no excuse to run out and buy it for them, as there are much better racing games out there that cost a lot less than this one! To everyone else, the 3DS port should be avoided at all costs. It’s clunky, slow, expensive and above all not fun to play at all. If you must try it out, then seek it out on other portable devices and forget the 3DS port even exists.