Garfield has been around for many many years at this point in time and, like a great deal of the older franchises, it seems as though developers and publishers from all around the world intend to keep these old flames burning brighter than ever. Sometimes it works and sometimes it just doesn’t, either way these types of games are constantly in circulation. Garfield Kart is one of these games and it actually isn’t as bad as originally perceived, it isn’t the most outstanding game but it isn’t a sorry excuse for one either, it walks a very, very fine line.
Garfield Kart is your typical smartphone racing game, it really doesn’t do anything to revolutionize the racing genre but I never really expected it to do so anyway. It’s easy and simple to play and you can really pick it up at any free moment for a race. The kart is controlled by the tilt of your mobile device but it can be changed so that you use on-screen arrows to direct your vehicle, I chose to stay with the tilt and, once I altered the sensitivity, I was a demon on the racetrack. Alongside the steering is a button to skid, this helps you drift around tight turns and actually gives you a speed boost which is in direct correlation to the amount of time you spent in a drift, that alone makes gameplay a great deal more enjoyable.
You collect power-ups that can be shot backwards and forwards as well as certain items which give you a speed boost or a shield, the game is very reminiscent of Mario Kart because, fundamentally, that is exactly what it is. It almost feels like a mobile port of Mario Kart at times and with the name Garfield Kart I’m not sure who exactly they’re fooling. There are a great deal of tracks, characters, karts and equip-able items to keep you going with the game for a very long time but, unfortunately, they are unlocked with in-game money which you collect on the track, it’s not that they give you a money prize at the end of the race, you’re forced to collect coins from around the track. I found this to be unfair considering that, in single player mode, other drives could pick up your money, coins do not re-spawn on the track so once you’ve lost them they’re not coming back until you restart the race.
This made it very hard to actually unlock anything, luckily the races are actually fun to go through again and again. What I didn’t like about racing was the fact that, once you’ve won a race, there’s no indication that you’ve actually progressed. While, on the menu screen, you are told to win the race to progress but once you’ve done so there are no options that allow you to simply continue onto the next track which takes away the sense of accomplishment entirely. I have to say though, the game is incredibly addictive, I’ve been constantly playing it and I tend to go back to the first track because it seems as though I’ve mastered every twist and turn of it.
At the end of the day this is really what people look for in a mobile game, what people don’t look for is an economic system where in which it is better to spend real money to progress faster in-game, had it not been this way the game would have been much better but, unfortunately, this is the way that mobile games are now and I really don’t think there is any stopping it. It’s great for kids who really just want four or five tracks to play on, I can’t imagine them getting bored of it any time soon but, me being a seasoned gamer, I tend to look more a great deal more. The multiplay was a nice little addition to the game but I never really felt the need to go and play it much, I tried it out for the sake of the review and, while good, It just didn’t hit me like I thought it should have.
Straight out of the gates this game looks…great! All the animation and characters models are incredibly smooth, their designs are fairly basic but, for Garfield, it works perfectly. The tracks are all fantastic-looking and the animation is great. I’ve had people look over my shoulder while playing just to say “Wow…it actually looks good.”, which is a big thing to say at first glance. The aesthetics of the game really did take me by surprise and, even now, my first explanation of the game to others is; “Yeah, it looks good!”, it’s hard to look down on a game that is smooth and looks well. The colours are great and they do remind me of Garfield in his prime as a comic in the newspaper, if only we could forget that terrible movie.
I would say that the audio is just as good as the visuals but, unlike the visuals, the music and sound effects get annoying. It has a very chirpy soundtrack which, at first, kind of puts a smile on your face but that soon passes as the sounds of pies hitting your car or UFOs abducting you gets incredibly frustrating. It’s soundtrack is nice but I wouldn’t consider it to be anything more than that, for kids playing it I’m sure it is fantastic but, as an adult, I tend to just switch my phone on silent and play that way. It adds to the game in a small way, sound always does so, but it’s not crucial to the enjoyment of the title in any way.
It’s a great game for a while, there isn’t a lot wrong with the game at all apart from the glaring issue which is the way you go about unlocking certain things, I would have stuck with the game for so longer had I been shown some progress from the amount of time I put into coming first in races, I have nothing to show for my efforts because I put more time into winning than into searching for coins and getting them before others did. I just felt it to be unfair but, profit-wise, what an incredible idea for the company. For children playing this game I can imagine it being great and, to a certain degree, for adults too. It’s a good way to spend $0.99 and it’ll keep you entertained for a while despite there being some issues with the progression of the game. Either way, it’s cheap and it gets the job done for the most part.