Mario Kart 7 is currently being advertised and Jungle Kartz attempts to take some its glory by offering a racing game containing not Italian plumbers or talking mushrooms but instead jungle animals! Considering how the Mario Kart series has dominated over the last few years it’s a big task for Jungle Kartz to replicate even half the entertainment Sir Mario and his friends have given to gamers over the years.
In Jungle Kartz your aim is to become king of the jungle by competing across 32 tracks. There are 8 animal characters to choose from that include Ashley, Bob, Dixie, Gus, Rocky, Sal, Sass and Zero. Luckily each animal has its own specific abilities to help improve its chances of winning! Something innovative to the genre is that each animal possesses a home track advantage i.e. it’s their part of the jungle so they know it like the back of their hand or I guess paw. It’s a clever ploy which works to some degree if you’re able to persevere to the end of a track! There are eight vehicles to play with ranging from the standard big but hard to control to the small quick but light vehicles. If you’re fast enough then there are secret hidden karts to unlock. There’s nothing in Jungle Kartz which you haven’t previously experienced in Mario Kart besides the home advantage inclusion.
The 32 tracks cover 8 different environments which include; Arctic Point which is full of igloos, glaciers and icebergs, Cinder Flow contains lots and lots of lava, the overgrown rainforest of Deep Forest, the laid back rolling hills and corn fields of Homestead Ranch, the dusty dry sandy Ra Desert, Redstone Canyon is a canyon filled with rivers, the savannah that is Rift River Valley and last but not least Tropic Bay which is a paradise island inhabited by palm trees and sandy beeches. All the environments are pretty bare and bland looking, each track could have easily been filled with various animals cheering you on and more detailed pleasant scenery. The bland environments in conjunction with unimaginative kart and character design really stand out especially compared to Mario Kart. Jungle Kartz simple doesn’t cut the mustard in the graphics department.
There are 9 pickups of various ability in Jungle Kartz. Blow Darts are pretty self explanatory and so are the Bombs you can pick up. Ice Puddles freeze your kart whilst the Shield protects you. You can also pick up Speed Boosts, Time Warps, Slime, Pineapple Rockets which are quite fun to use and Spider Webs which are pretty annoying to get hit by. The power ups on offer aren’t as entertaining or graphically pleasing as other racing games, you can’t pick up more than one at a time so it’s a limiting experience.
To be fair to Jungle Kartz the vehicles handle well and there are no problems with sliding round corners or navigating past your competitors. The issues arise when the power ups are used especially with the bomb power up. If you or one of your opponents decide to release it then it’s bad news for all concerned even the thrower because you all end up being knocked off course and into each other and it’s an absolute chore to manoeuvre yourself to get out of the predicament. Its looks reasonable ok on screen but the Bomb is too destructive for its own good.
When you play Jungle Kartz there’s no urgency or feeling that you need to win, there’s no commentator telling you to do well whilst when you do win the end celebrations are pretty lame. The options available are limited to a Time Trial, Tournament and Quick Race, it’s the same for the multiplayer so there’s not a great deal to do in Jungle Kartz besides racing across bland landscapes with poor character design and receiving very little enjoyment for it.
Jungle Kartz is a very poor Mario Kart clone. Every aspect of Jungle Kartz is performed better in Mario Kart whether it’s the graphics, sound, controls or overall enjoyment. Jungle Kartz unfortunately comes across as the runt of the litter from beginning to end which is a shame because an animal related racing game is quite a decent idea. If you’ve somehow got bored of the fun which Mario Kart guarantees then you may find some solace in Jungle Kartz for a very short while, just make sure you don’t play with friends!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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