Can you become king of the Jungle tracks?
Jungle Kartz by Nordic games for Nintendo Wii is an all-new go-karting game that features eight fun loving animals racing through various jungle tracks, as you may have guessed.
The player controls their Kart by either using the Wiimote and Nunchuk combination, or by simply inserting the Wiimote into a steering wheel peripheral (the game is available packaged with a steering wheel if you don’t already have one) for a more realistic driving experience.
The main objective of the game is to become king of the Jungle by racing across 32 tracks in different tournaments. There are eight adorable characters to choose from; Sal, Rocky, Bob, Dixie, Ashley, Gus, Sass and Zero. Each of these animal characters has their own particular abilities to increase their chances of becoming number one and winning the race. The game offers eight vehicles to play around with, from the heavier ones which are harder to control, to the lighter ones which speed around the track a lot quicker, but don’t like taking a knock. Different Karts can be unlocked throughout the game, encouraging the player to try something new and keep playing.
The game covers 32 tracks in eight different environments, from the icy cold depths of Arctic point to the deep excessive forests. The environments within the game were certainly varied, but seemed a little washed out and lacking in detail, leaving them a little bit dull and uninspiring. Even though it is not really fair to make comparisons between Mario Kart and Jungle Kartz, it’s hard to stray from the fact that we’ve been spoilt with the cool, crisp design of Mario Kart and it’s very rich and vibrant colors.
As has become standard in Kart racers, a number of pickups items are available along the tracks to give players an edge in their race, such as Pineapple explosive projectiles that you fire at competitors in front of you, or Spider Webs that are dropped behind to slow down the other racers. These items are all fairly run of the mill, but add an extra edge to the racing.
I tried out both of the control options to see which one felt better and, after a very short time, decided that the Wiimote and Nunchuk option was better for me, as with the steering wheel I had real trouble making sharp turns and found myself hitting walls and completely flipping my Kart upside down. The Wiimote and Nunchuk control seemed much easier, using the stick to steer, the A button to accelerate and the Z button to use special items against opponents.
There are three different modes to choose from within the game – Quick Race, Time Trial and Tournament. Unfortunately, Jungle Kartz didn’t really compel me to play the tracks and there’s no real incentive to keep picking the game up, even in multiplayer mode, where four of you can team up together in split-screen.
Graphically, the game looked poor and lacked any real design on the tracks and in the background. Driving around the tracks could have been great with a little improvement to the level of detail, but it all seemed like a last minute attempt at a Mario Kart clone. The handling wasn’t too bad, as long as the Wiimote/Nunchuk control method was used, but it was frustrating when, hit by other vehicles or knocking into a wall, my Kart would take ages getting back into the race, especially when it resulted in my Kart being left upside down. But even then, it doesn’t take too long to get back to the front of the pack, as the difficulty is set quite low.
Jungle Kartz is a bargain priced game that offers a lower priced Karting game that may entertain youngsters for a short while. However, I think anyone would be hard-pressed to choose this game over Mario Kart unless price is the only issue. The entire game looks very dated and rushed, and will only really appeal to anyone who has never played Mario Kart and the other, more polished, clones.