As much as it pains us to say it, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3 definitely slipped through our net this year. Perhaps it was due to Bamtang Games making little to no effort to promote it, or perhaps it was purely down to the fact that we ourselves didn't make the effort to go searching for it. Whatever the case, the third entry to the beloved karting saga released just last month, and boy, what a sneaky little gem it just so happened to be.
If carbon and karting flows through your veins, and you have a hidden obsession with SpongeBob SquarePants and pals, then you're likely wondering whether or not to pick up Slime Speedway. The burning question that yearns to be answered is this: is it a total cash grab, or is it significantly better than the last? Well, here's how we'd rate the two when put together.
Much like its second instalment, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway brings all the usual favourites to the roster, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and CatDog. And that's not all, as the third chapter also brings a few new faces to the fold, including Jimmy Neutron, JoJo Siwa, and Garfield. All in all, this makes up a rather generous roster of 42 playable characters, which is considerably more than Grand Prix's 30.
What makes the third entry a little more compelling than the first and second, though, is the fact that its characters, at long last, have actual voices. For the first time since the series' inception, the original actors came to light to help compile individual story arcs and fully audible monologues. It's a minor thing, but it definitely adds a little extra meat to the bone, so to speak. And so, as far as characters go, it's hard to turn down Slime Speedway in favor of Grand Prix.
As far as gameplay goes, not a whole lot has changed since Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2. In fact, it still relies on the classic Mario Kart blueprint that mostly revolves around wacky wall-to-wall racing and destructible perks and pick-me-ups. It's all still there, and it runs surprisingly well, and perhaps even better than Grand Prix, surprisingly.
Just like before, Slime Speedway comes with a familiar series of modes: “Slime Scramble” Grand Prix; Free Race; Time Trial; Challenges; and Arena. And again, like in in Grand Prix, players can unlock up to 90 pit crew characters, all of whom come preloaded with their own passive abilities. These abilities can be unlocked by drifting through a significant amount of slime on the track, which then prompts the player to activate it.
Customization is also a key feature in Slime Speedway, as it was in Grand Prix. The only major difference with the third is that, well, you can also kit out bikes as well as karts. Oh, and you can use any unlocked part for your kart, too, unlike the second game, in which parts were tied to certain characters and only usable when playing as that particular character.
Of course, as with any racing game that runs like a hot knife through a stick of butter, there's still bound to be a few clumps every now and then. It's rare, but the fact is, both the second and third instalment do have their fair share of minor graphical bugs. That being said, none of them really pull you away from the action and cause you to abandon ship partway through a level. The bottom line is, if you enjoyed Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2, then you'll definitely enjoy Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3, as mechanically, it's almost the same game.
When all's said and done, the main reason anyone picks up the sequel to universally acclaimed racing series is to experience its new courses. And honestly, kudos to Bamtang Games for giving the series a major overhaul, as Slime Speedway certainly features far more memorable tracks than its predecessor.
There are 36 playable tracks in Slime Speedway, 16 of which come from the previous two games. This means Slime Speedway has 20 new tracks to experience, which range from Mrs. Puff's Boating School to Jimmy's Lab, NYC Rooftops to Arbuckle Farm. You can access any of these courses through the game's primary modes, excluding Battle Mode, which, once again, uses the Kids' Choice Awards venue for racers to compete in.
Bamtang Games' Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway isn't your run-of-the-mill cash grab, which speaks volumes for the developer's devotion to the racing platform. And although it features its fair share of familiar templates from previous games, it still does a pretty tidy job at bringing new content to the table. As well as 20 new tracks and a roster of fully-voiced characters, it easily becomes the series' crowning achievement, and therefore shouldn't be ignored.
Make no mistake, Slime Speedway isn't anything revolutionary, nor is it the best karting game on the chopping block. It is, however, a whole lot of fun, and twice as entertaining as its first two entries meshed together. So, if harmless yet slightly chaotic multiplayer gaming is what you're after, then you've just found it. Do yourself a favor, and pick up Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway.
You can pick up Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch, and PC. For more updates on the game, you can follow the official social handle here.
So, what's your take? Do you have a preference? Will you be picking up Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.