I have one simple question - why does this game exist?
M&M's Kart racing is one of many Mario Kart ripoffs for the Wii, along with Myth Makers Super Kart GP which I will review after I find it. M&M's racing is pretty unremarkable, save for the fact that gameplay footage leaked before it's release despite not even having an official trailer. Looks like fun, doesn't it. I could end my review right there, but that would be boring. Besides, it can't be that bad, can it? Of course not, it's worse! It's had a number of scathing reviews from various critics, the highest of which I can find is 3/10. Heck, Gamespot awarded it the flat-out worst game of 2008. So it's time for another scathing review of this game.
First of all, this is the slowest racing game I've ever played. The karts drive slow, the game feels slow, and...it's just slow. Like I mentioned before, it's a Mario Kart ripoff...WITHOUT ITEMS! You heard that right, a Kart racing games without any weapons at all. If anything, the game has chocolate coins and boost pickups lying around. The chocolate coins are used to unlock more karts, like anyone really cares though. The boosts increases your speed for a short time the second you touch it, which often pushes you right into a wall or an obstacle due to horrible placement. Neither of these pickups ever respawn, so after the first and second lap, the courses are more barren than the salt flats.
The physics in this game make no sense. Even if you barely scrape a wall, you'll stop dead in your tracks, yet if you bump into another racer, it just bounces you in another direction without affecting your speed at all. Also, every time you stop you hear the sound of tires squealing, whether you hit a wall, use the breaks, or just let go of the acceleration. Driving uphill will reduce your speed by half instantly, but it'll keep you at that constant speed as long as you're driving uphill. Grabbing boosts causes the front of your car/cart to start bouncing up and down like a kangaroo, yet your steering is unaffected. It keeps bouncing until your boost is done. Also, boosting ignores the bit about slowing down while driving uphill. Driving downhill is even more confusing as you don't speed up - instead you start bouncing like you're driving down a flight of stairs. As you could imagine, this also ruins your steering, and half the time you'll need to steer when you're going downhill. Again, the boost seems to ignore that part. Why couldn't they just have the kart drive downhill like it drives uphill, like you know...ANGLE THE CAR DOWN WITH THE HILL AND SLIGHTLY INCREASE YOUR SPEED! Also noteworthy is if you fall down a "bottomless pit", the game instantly respawns you right before where you fell down and in the middle of the track. Therefore, the game barely punishes you at all for falling off. What's the point of having these pits if they don't really punish you for falling into them?
The game is complete with annoying voice acting. For example, every time I passed somebody, I either heard "I'm sorry," "Look, a nut," or a man's voice saying "Hey!" Firstly, why are you apologizing for passing someone in a race? You're supposed to pass people in a race. Secondly, why not use "Look, a nut" for picking up chocolate coins instead. Sure, the coins don't have nuts, but it still makes more sense than using it for passing your opponents. Thirdly, the man's voice will say "Hey!" No matter who you pass, even if it's the green female M&M character. I would argue that maybe the developers were too cheap to hire a female voice actress, but the countdown to the start of each race is spoken by a woman so there goes that excuse.
Also, every time you hit a boost power-up, at the end of your boost you'll hear "Approaching sound barrier!" How? The karts are moving at a speed of 40KM/hour at the most, so how are they approaching the sound barrier? Also, why say that at the end of the boost when you're slowing down when it should be said at the start of the boost? This is the line you'll get tired of the fastest in this game because of how utterly stupid it is.
When you win the race, a random quote out of two is picked. A bland, boring male either says "I'm the champion," or "Where is everybody?" How do I know it's random? Because on several occasions another racer or two finished the race before the line "Where is everybody?" even finished. how hard is it to program that quote to only show up if you win far ahead of everyone else? In this day and age in gaming, it should be pretty easy.
There is a total of 15 racing tracks, half of which take no more than 30 seconds to complete a lap. That's pretty bad when you consider how slow the karts move in this game. Every track also features lazy graphics that only strive to make the developers behind Spy Games Elevator Mission proud. Seriously, with minor tweaking, this game could easily work on the N64 - yet the boat race track in this game still has major frame-rate problems.
There are several modes to pick from in this game. There's single race, which is self-explanatory, there's tournament mode (I'll get to that later,) there's multiplayer mode, but good luck finding anyone that will play this turd buscuit with you, and then there's arcade mode. What's arcade mode you ask? Is it trying to get through the races, reaching checkpoints so that you're not eliminated? Is it a harder or alternate version of tournament mode? No, it's completely pointless. You drive around the tracks alone, trying to collect enough chocolate coins. If you fail to collect enough chocolate coins or run out of time you have to try again. If you succeed you move onto the next track. Why not just have a time trial mode where you try to set lap records? What's the point of a coin collecting mode when you do that in every other mode in the game? Oh right I forgot this game is stupid to begin with, forget I asked.
Let's talk about tournament mode for a while. Tournament mode is a series of races through each track in the game - simple enough. It really doesn't make any sense though. In some races you battle against five other racers, while in a couple others you're racing against eight. Why not just have the same number of racers in every race? Is it really that hard to build a game around a desired number of competitors? Sure, some shooters work better when you have different maps for different sized groups, but racing games are different. If the track's bigger than it needs to be for two racers, who cares? Their still racing, and the track doesn't need to be smaller just because there are fewer racers.
Most of the earlier courses in the tournament are loaded with too many obstacles that I guarantee you will hit. Many obstacles will appear right around a turn, and you'll only see them the instant before you collide head on. These obstacles are in the most illogical places imaginable. To make matters worse, this game has invisible barriers and obstacles too, even creating dead ends with an invisible wall in places that you should be able to drive through. The barn track, or whatever it's called, is the worst for this. The barn has walls that you can barely see because their colour is close to that of the ground - in a dark location no less, and invisible dead ends. The barn also has several spots that you can get completely stuck in, requiring you to re-start the race - some of which are at the sharp turns throughout the track. The barn is the only track that I ever had to restart on.
All the later courses are the exact opposite - they have so few obstacles and no sharp turns that they become incredibly boring. The game also loves to give you false hope that it will end soon too. You have an alien spaceship racetrack, so you might think that that's the last course. No, you get the alien HQ next - is this the last course? It has boundaries that you can fall down into a pit if you hit at a high enough speed, kind of like Rainbow Road in every Mario Kart game, so it must be the last one, right? Screw you gamers, The alien planet is next! What? you'd think that the alien planet is last? Think again, now you get the chocolate volcano. After that, there's the coliseum track. The coliseum is the last track in the game, right? Please let it be the last one, I beg you M&M's Kart Racing. No, the next and thankfully last track is the stadium - and it's also the most boring track in the entire game.
(This is the Alien HQ - looks riveting, doesn't it?)
You have to unlock the karts for each character individually, meaning that you'll have to play through the tournament at least twice for everyone. As long as you're older than 5 and sane, you're about as likely to do that as you will purposely let your knee get run over by a steamroller.
With all of those scathing comments said, this game does have some redeeming factors. You won't notice this until the later, boring courses, but the controls are actually pretty good. The game uses the Wiimote on it's side and uses the tilt control as a steering wheel. While this may be awkward at first, and there's no option to change it, it's actually very precise once you get used to it. Why won't you notice this until the boring courses? Because the earlier courses are loaded with turns too tight to navigate without slowing down drastically. You can also hop with the controller by giving it in a "Jumping" jolt, however you'll never have a real use for it thus it's completely pointless. The controls are surprisingly responsive for such a cash-in title and would easily work in a better racing game. A better game like, I don't know - MARIO KART!
This game is simply a pain. It's annoying, it ranges from frustratingly crowded courses to incredibly boring, and the hard ones come first for some stupid reason. This game simply has no redeeming factors other than the good controls that have been done in pretty much every other Wii racing game in existence. It's impossible to recommend such a stinker to anyone and I implore you all to avoid this title at all costs. Not only is it a terrible game, but now every time I look at M&M's where I work, I am reminded by haunting memories of this crap. Thanks to this...thing, I don't want to eat M&M's for a long time.
Two word review - completely pointless