Cocoto Kart Racer DS

Review: Cocoto Kart Racer DS

DS Review

It's impossible to write this review without mentioning those two magic words that make up that infamous title. Mario Kart. There, I've mentioned it and I will no doubt have to mention it again also; so for convenience it shall from here on in be referred to as 'MK'. Right, everyone happy? Good, then I'll begin.

Indeed a MK clone this may be at first glance; however, this latest incarnation in the Cocoto series, which places Cocoto (and various associates/nemesis'), in the driving seat has a bit more to offer than most kart-based games. First of all, though, let's get one obvious issue out in the open. Put your stylus away; you won't need it, as CKR doesn't feature any sort of touch screen input whatsoever.

Even though this game may lack control via the touch screen it doesn't hinder this type of game in any way, as control is much better suited to the D-pad; the bottom screen is used for displaying various pieces of information such as track layout and the positions of each racer. Meanwhile, on the top screen the action unfolds as both the tracks and characters are all displayed in 3D with quite a reasonable amount of detail.

Before the race the camera floats along part of the course, giving you some sense of scale before finally settling at the start position above the eclectic mix of characters. They conform to the usual kart racer stereotypes: Cocoto is the well-balanced all rounder; Neutron is fast but lacks control; Bo-Bong is slow but has near perfect control. There are other characters available, but they all fall under thee three broad headings.

In motion CKR is fairly decent, running at a constant 30fps with little to no slowdown present, and track side detail is also quite reasonable with each track having a clear theme to it. These themes vary from dense woodland and fiery chasms to one track that is effectively a reverse rainbow road with the sky being multicoloured and the track itself being semi-transparent.

It's probably no great coincidence that CKR mirrors MK in almost every respect; it is the kart racer blueprint. Characters have similar handling styles and in some cases they even resemble characters from Nintendo's classic racer, albeit with slightly unoriginal names. Similarities don't stop with the characters either, power-ups work in near identical ways, both jumps and power-slides are possible, similarly themed tracks are in similar orders. Heck, even the BGM is reasonably catchy.

So there we have it, another MK impersonator, albeit a very competent one with enough relative originality, a reasonable amount of tracks and an additional multi-player mode to boot. It's decent enough even with a few irritating niggling aspects. Even though the control is better suited to the D-pad and works well for the majority of the game's strangely designed courses, it's still frustrating getting stuck on a sharp turn even when using the right shoulder button to steer around it.

Multiplayer in kart games usually goes together like bread and butter, more relevantly single cart download play and the DS work perfectly; however, for reasons unknown, CKR does not feature single cart multiplayer and as a result of this each player must have a copy of the game. It is also due to this slight omission that I cannot divulge the quality of the multiplayer modes, having not been able to actually play them. But what I can tell you about CKR's multiplayer is that again (yep, you guessed it) it has taken a leaf out of MK's book, featuring both versus race and battle modes, with specific tracks/arenas for both modes.

But despite these small letdowns, CKR is a decent racer, in addition to being an example of what can be achieved both graphically and audibly on the DS.

[Note: CKR is currently available in selected regions (Benelux, France, Spain & Germany) with a UK release date pending so you may have to shop around online to obtain a copy (it's currently priced at around E35). Also, the limited edition (version reviewed) comes with with an exclusive Cocoto DS carry case, which although not quite big enough to fit a DS inside (well maybe just about...) is nonetheless useful for storing associated accessories, cards etc.]

N-Europe Final Verdict

Cocoto Kart Racer is an enjoyable experience in single player alone, despite lack of single card multiplayer. If you're looking for a decent kart game to tide you over until the release of Mario Kart then you can't steer far wrong

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability3
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Graphically impressive
Audibly decent
Free carry case (LE)


No single cart multiplayer
Control issues

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