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While Mario Kart DS has seen huge (and warranted) success there haven't been many similar games. EA bring their MySims franchise into the kart racing fray with MySims Racing. Here it takes the genre in a more person centred customisable direction.
Racing games, although sometimes seen as a sporting sub category, are a well established video game genre in their own right.
As its base, MySims Racing offer a classic Kart Racing experience. Here, players choose a character, vehicle and track and gets racing. This works both on a single player level, but also extends to a WiFi multiplayer link up too - with just one copy of the game you can play 2 players, although if you each have a copy you can play with four people.
As they race there are some racing techniques - cornering, racing line, power sliding etc - but the focus is on simplicity rather than simulation.
As in Mario Kart DS players can collect power ups and weapons throughout the race. These range from attacks on other racers, to speed boosts to reversing people's controls. The game that results is a combination of this combat and the more pure racing action.
Although MySims Racing looks quite similar to Mario Kart DS there are some unique features. It is more focused on MySims concept of developing a character with personal attributes. Coming from the main Sims game, this idea means that players can choose how to customise both their character and kart. Different drivers have different driving abilities, rather than just the karts in Mario Kart DS.
The gameplay isn't quite as slick or smooth as in Mario Kart though. Here, things look like they are running at around 30 frames per second rather than the super smooth 60. It's a technical point but one that changes the way the game feels to play. My kids didn't seem to notice though.
Players will be drawn to the Mario Kart style action here. But as they play it is the customisation of both character and vehicle that lock them in for the long term. Watching as your son charges past in the kart they just put big wheels and a paint job on is both annoying and entertaining.
Being a race based game, play can conclude after a single release. However the ongoing development of characters does make it easy to play for longer than other more straight forward kart racers.
Young and novice racers will enjoy the simple and direct controls and bright visuals.
Intermediates are more likely to get into the customisation and character development aspects.
Experts will find that there is more racing available here than meets the eye. Power slides and racing corners make a real difference to speed and lap times.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
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