Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway review – Cartoon chaos that’s unlikely to stick

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway Patrick driftingBamtang Games

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway is a frantic and fun way to hit the track as beloved cartoon characters, but it’s unlikely to live on as anything more than an occasional party game.

A casual racer crammed full of iconic characters from your favorite animated childhood shows sounds like a no-brainer, and Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway delivers on the promise with a colorful and chaotic way to kill a night in with family or friends.

However, despite some interesting features that help distinguish it from other games of its kind, those without an interest in the shows and characters might struggle to find a reason to line up on the grid again and again.

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Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway key details:

  • Developer: Bamtang Games
  • Price: $49.99 / £39.99
  • Release date: October 14
  • Platforms: Xbox, PlayStation, Switch & PC

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway trailer:

SpongeBob gets his boating license

Anyone who’s played Mario Kart at any point in the last decade will be immediately at home at the wheel of Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3. Players can choose from up to 40 unlockable cartoon characters from shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, Invader Zim, and Jimmy Neutron, before flinging high-speed go-karts that feel like they have Krabby Patties for wheels around one of the 35 dazzling tracks.

All of the usual modes are here, albeit with a Nick TV flavor to stay on-brand. From Slime Scrambles that play out as small championships of four races, to free-for-all Arena modes like Control the Golden Spatula, there’s a decent amount of content to get stuck into.

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Once the lights go out, crashing into boxes earns powerful items to wreak havoc on the rest of the grid. Some are more traditional like a football that locks onto nearby opponents, while others have more outlandish effects like littering the track with bowling pins that need to be knocked down to give other drivers an electric shock.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3 also shakes up the formula by letting players choose their own crew of up to three side characters, each of which comes with an attack, defense, boost, or support ability. The Chief of your crew’s ability can be triggered by filling up your Slime meter, whereas the other two act as passive buffs.

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This, as well as drivers, vehicles, wheels, and exhausts with different stats that can be swapped around means there’s a surprising amount of depth here, and you could spend hours experimenting and unlocking new options to find the perfect build.

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway gameplayBamtang Games
Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway features characters and tracks from 19 classic shows.

F.U.N in small doses

Sadly, there’s very little reason to do so, as Nickelodeon Kart Racer 3 is mind-numbingly easy, even if you’re playing on the hardest of the three difficulties available at the start. There is a fourth option that can be unlocked, but most will have probably left Slime Speedway in the rearview mirror long before they obtain it.

While the on-track action is fun enough to begin with, it quickly goes stale once you’ve powered through a dozen or so races. The driving doesn’t feel anywhere near as refined as many of its competitors, and the courses, while visually interesting, don’t throw any unique obstacles your way to change things up.

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Herein lies the biggest problem I had with Nickelodeon Kart Racer 3 – there just isn’t enough to keep you hooked over multiple sessions. Other than unlocking new characters, which is done with tokens earned by taking part in four-race championships or via one-on-one races after completing a handful of mini-challenges, it’s hard to find a real incentive to keep going.

There aren’t even any new character skins to hunt down, which feels like a missed opportunity in a game that includes everyone from Garfield to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

In an effort to make things more challenging, I looked to test my metal online against other players. Sadly, even in the first couple of days after launch, I was unable to find a lobby with more than one other real opponent, leaving the rest of the grid full of the same AIs I’d been drifting rings around for the rest of the day.

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The Verdict – 6.5/10

Nickelodeon Kart Racers 3: Slime Speedway is the ideal game to break out for a night of family fun, especially if you have kids in need of entertainment. The colorful cast of familiar faces, as well as a host of stunning tracks, makes for a perfect party game if you can get enough people into the same room.

However, its surprising amount of depth is wasted by an unchallenging AI and lack of real opponents to face online, meaning that solo racers without any love for Nickelodeon’s shows will find little incentive to carry on once the novelty has worn off.

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Reviewed on PS5