It wasn’t like I was out looking for a free to play MMO to round out my gaming experience.
But I HAD TO get this game!
I HAD TO!
Why did I have to?
Because there was a great big colorful full page advertisement for it on the back of Games for Windows Magazine.
And my daughter saw it.
And then the requests began… over and over again.
Eventually I caved in.
Okay, I am pretty sure that Jeff Green doesn’t do the ad placement in the magazine, but he is the editor-in-chief, and when you’re the boss, everything is your fault.
So with my daughter practically hanging on my sleeve, I downloaded the game.
The first thing you have to do is create an account with Nexon, the games maker. If you already play one of their other games, like Maple Story, your account for that will also work for Kartrider.
Then you download and install the software.
The install part almost lost me.
at a couple of points during the process, the installer asks you to install the Microsoft Korean language kit, which requires you to put your Windows XP SP2 disk into the drive. I would have to guess that they tested this with the international version of Windows XP installed, which has all the language kits, not the US English version.
Fortunately, you can get past that by just pressing cancel until it stops asking you.
Once installed and running, you go through a fairly quick tutorial that teaches you the basics of the game. Then you take your drivers test and, if you pass, you get your license to race. Well, your basic license, anyway.
But then you can go out and race against live people, which is the point of the game. There are different tracks, different sorts of races (singles, teams, quests, events), but mostly you just drive, run over power ups, and use them against the other people on the track.
You can have as few as two people in a race, but then the rewards are negligible.
You are better off with a full load of eight racers if you want to get ahead in the game.
It is like a low budget MarioKart 64 with lag issues.
That is actually pretty high praise considering MarioKart 64 is a pretty awsome game. It is still my favorite Wii Virtual Console download.
So Kartrider is pretty good, given the price, which is free.
Of course, you CAN spend money on the game, if you want.
The basic unit of currency in game is the Lucci. You get Lucci for winning a race, or for being on the winning team in a team based race. But, like World of Warcraft, you also get some Lucci even if you lose. Not as much, of course. In the races I was in, it was 60 Lucci for the winners and down to 10 Lucci for the losers.
You can use Lucci to buy better cars, avatars with better skills, and special customization items for you car and driver.
And, if you are earning Lucci too slowly, Nexon will gladly take a credit card or game card in exchange for a quick pile of Lucci so you can get a car that goes faster or turns tighter or a driver that earns experience or Lucci at a quicker rate.
A great game? Probably not. But a pretty good game if you want something you can drop into quickly, run a few races, and then go on to other things.
My daughter grew tired of the game when she saw how long it was taking to earn Lucci to buy the cool stuff she wanted (I did not mention that I could BUY Lucci, no no no) but I still have it on my system and I jump in to run a few races every couple of days.