The moustachioed man has returned once again to grace the asphalt with his crew of dinosaurs and princesses, so I feel it’s only natural that this week we dedicate some time towards the brave explorers of a severely under-rated genre – the multiplayer driving combat ‘em up.
Mario Kart is all about high speed multiplayer carnage, be it local or online. Everything is to play for, and the games provide a great ‘proving ground’ for friends and foes alike to compete for that first place position. You can expect great local and online multiplayer gameplay with plenty of power-ups and whacky courses in these unsung titles.
Krautscape – PC
What it is – Krautscape takes the manic action of a multiplayer driving game and gives it wings. Each track is procedurally generated, meaning no two races will be the same. What’s more, players can simply take a leap of faith off of the track and soar across huge distances in an effort to steal first place.
Why you might like it – There’s a great opportunity for some fantastic victory stealing to happen in Krautscape. The ability to soar across the game world means that even when you’re leagues ahead of the competition, you can never be too sure if someone isn’t about to sneak in ahead of you. Because of the way the track is generated, there are times where even the person in first place doesn’t know where they are going as the track is only generated when someone passed through each checkpoint gate.
Bears Can’t Drift – OUYA
What it is – Bears Can’t Drift is appropriately named for what lies within. You play as a bear strapped to a go-kart, seemingly hellbent on defeating all of the other bears to the finish line of a race through the woods. Featuring 2-4 player local split-screen multiplayer, Bears Can’t Drift offers some enjoyable competitive party racing on the OUYA.
Why you might like it – You mean other than that there are bears racing each other in go-karts? Okay, how about using giant bazookas to fire fish at each other? The track is littered with pick-ups and speed boosts, giving you that Mario Kart vibe from start to finish. It’s worth noting that the current iteration of the game only supports either solo play – for those who just hate everyone around them – or local split-screen multiplayer with the possibility of AI in future versions.
Silas – PC
What it is – Silas combines the manic fervor of kart racing with a hearty dose of FPS shooting and destructive power-ups. The game supports both online and LAN multiplayer, and also includes a sizable amount of single player content.
Why you might like it – If you’re in the market for a game that requires precision at the drop of a hat, Silas is definitely up your alley. Most of your arsenal has to be manually aimed, and when you’re traveling at breakneck speed that isn’t always as easy as you’d think. Combine that with flying cars and level specific hazards that can wipe you out without a moment’s notice and the end result is a great entry to the ‘multiplayer kart racing whilst shooting your friends’ genre.
You can pick up Silas on Desura here.
Skydrift – PC, XBLA, PSN
What it is – Skydrift is what happens when you combine airborne dog fighting with the desire to be in first place. Soar across canyons, glaciers, and volcanoes as you shoot down your friends and strive to be the top gun.
Why you might like it – Okay so it isn’t a kart racer, but I’d argue that it shares more with Mario Kart than you’d think. There are a dozen manic pick-up weapons, speed boosting rings, whacky levels to race across and a number of different planes to choose from. If you were a fan of Diddy Kong Racing, this will probably appeal to you more, but I’d urge you not to dismiss it just because your vehicle doesn’t have any wheels.
Distance – PC
What it is – Distance is a self-proclaimed “experimental survival racing” game, which will see you dodging hazards and rival players as your progress through the vibrant neon cityscape laid out before you. Utilize a futuristic car to navigate across the dangerous terrain with the ability to boost your speed, jump across gaps, rotate your vehicle at will, and glide across chasms as you race towards the finish line.
Why you might like it – Probably the most removed from the original Mario Kart concept, Distance takes a more serious stance on the racing genre. The graphics alone are enough to make you want to drool, with cascading bright neon lights strewn across the world like it was taken straight out of a Tron film. That doesn’t mean this is a no-nonsense racer though, as there’s enough whacky antics for you to crash into, including buzz-saws that can split your car into pieces. If you’re after something less cartoon-like but with the same level of frantic mayhem, Distance is one for you.
Distance is currently in beta and you can pre-purchase the game on the official site here.
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