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5 Mario Kart Clones That Are Actually Worth Buying

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The simple yet effective structure that is Mario Kart's award-winning formula has been passed through almost as many hands as second-hand Wii consoles have been given to siblings. Thanks to its vibrant courses, competitive gameplay, as well as its ability to include an entire household without resorting to bulky add-ons and a ludicrously fast internet connection, the karting kingdom has become one of the biggest racing franchises of all time.

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. And by responsibility, I'm talking about Nintendo having to fend off the countless copycats that clog the vein every year. Because let's face it — there are tonnes of them, and it's almost laughable, to see how similar some of them are to the original. But a select few, surprisingly, have managed to do a pretty nifty job of it. It's a worn out formula, sure, but when it works, it works. Who said anything about having to reinvent the wheel?

5. Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix - Announce Trailer | PS4

Contrary to popular belief, Nickelodeon does have the power to develop a great game. An action game, not so much. But a racing game that taps into all the same qualities as Mario Kart — yes. A million times, yes. And although the first swing at the podium didn't land too well for Nick, its second attempt, thankfully, proved to be a total knockout.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix packaged the whole deal — and it was electric. The mounds of tournaments all filled with instantly recognisable spots from Nick's finest platforms; the cutting edge gameplay that oozed fluidity and vigor — it was all there, and it proved haters of the brand that something as simple as a Mario Kart clone could quite easily ascend the charts.


4. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled - Gameplay Launch Trailer | PS4

Way back when Crash Bandicoot dominated the platforming monopoly, fans all over the globe loomed over the prospect of seeing a racing game spring to life. Lo and behold, Crash Team Racing was born, and, sure enough, it was as if Mario had received plastic surgery as a late birthday gift and then transported to an entire new franchise. But did we complain? No, we asked for a remaster.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled brought a perfect balance of nostalgia to its remake, but also added all the improvements you'd come to expect from a next-gen edition. It was polished, plain and simple. And considering the game was already glossy beyond belief beforehand, it only made the experience a hundred times more enjoyable the second time around. Smoother than butter, and then some.


3. Cars 3: Driven To Win

Cars 3: Driven to Win - Gameplay Trailer | PS4, PS3

First and foremost, try not to let Pixar's long and — let's face it — unhealthy timeline of Cars movies to distract you from the game it hurled out in 2017 on PS4. The fact that the movies were ranked at the bottom of Pixar's portfolio is another story altogether. But as for its games, well, that's a slightly more positive tale, and one that's surprisingly backed by both gamers and critics alike.

Cars 3: Driven To Win certainly doesn't reinvent the wheel, nor does it to knock the likes of Forza from the podium. But it does, however, build on something incredibly unique, and utilizes the tools its given to nudge Pixar in the right direction. Its customizable world is both joyful and plentiful, and its hand-crafted courses are diverse and rich in Pixar's renowned artsy style. Overall, it's a solid entry to the karting-style platform, and a pinch of redemption for Pixar's bottom shelf flicks.


2. Jak X

Jak X: Combat Racing PlayStation 2 Trailer - Trailer

If Smuggler's Run and Cel Damage had a baby, then Jak X would probably be it. So where does Mario Kart fit into this family tree? Well, let's just assume that Mario is more the, I don't know — distant cousin of the gritty Jak franchise. But that doesn't necessarily mean a few of its genes weren't spiritually transported to the latter. In fact, both of its featured races actually had very similar components, to be fair.

While Jak X had all the barren wastelands and time trials and what have you, it also had plenty of top-shelf racing, with elements that were blatantly torn straight from Mario Kart‘s sparking dashboard. The only major difference between the two, of course, was the textures and the story. On one hand, Jak wanted that Mario Kart feel. But on the other, it wanted to branch out and add more grit to its happy-go-lucky world. And to our surprise, it worked, resulting in a rather hefty following and, in later years, a demand for a well-deserved reboot.


1. LittleBigPlanet Karting

LittleBigPlanet Karting Announce Trailer

There was once a time when LittleBigPlanet dominated the PlayStation frontline. And of course, it was expected, seeing as the bulk of its games came either pre-installed or bundled with their consoles. And while the vast majority favoured Sackboy and his unique platforming worlds, a select few definitely opted for the racing spin-off that rolled out in 2012, LittleBigPlanet Karting.

Was it a blatant nod towards Mario Kart? Yes. Was it basically the same game, only with new characters and different tracks? Of course. But it was also a worthy accessory to the karting domain, and an equally as compelling world that boasted just as many quirky features to set it apart from its influences. Sure, it was no Mario Kart, but it was an admirable attempt, and one that PlayStation fans embraced willingly. What more could you want?


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Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.