Olly Dyche reviews Disney Speedstorm…
For decades gamers have seen a plethora of thrilling, nostalgic and immensely fun kart racers come and go. Some are far better than others, but there is an unmatched level of fun when pitting fan favorite franchise characters against one another and having them race it out through tracks designed specifically around their worlds.
Mario, Crash Bandicoot, Sonic, Sackboy, Nickelodeon and even the Mortal Kombat franchise have all put their own spin on the ever so popular kart racer genre, so it was only a matter of time before Disney had their crack at it. Whilst it’s rare for a kart racer to even compare to the genres greats like Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing, Disney Speedstorm does more than enough to race it’s way into the genre’s best competition.
Disney Speedstorm is a fantastic kart racer through and through, boasting smooth, deep and familiar gameplay mechanics. But what catapults Disney Speedstorm ahead of its competition is of course, its Disney and Pixar content. Whether it’s through its character roster, tracks, crew tokens and music, Disney Speedstorm spews with infectious Disney magic. Celebrating its 100 year anniversary in January of this year, the House of Mouse has more than enough content to satisfy gamers for years to come, with new characters, tracks and seasons releasing every 6-8 weeks. Even in the games early access phase, there is still a ton of content to keep fans entertained until its next season rolls around.
Characters come under 4 different classes: Speedsters, Brawlers, Tricksters and Defenders, which don’t necessarily mean much other than the fact that they affect what abilities and items players can use. Each character is a joy to play. Whether it’s Mickey Mouse, Hercules, Baloo, Mike Wazowski, or even Figment, every character has unique abilities and stats that make no character feel the same. On top of that, many will be happy to know that each character comes with dialogue, making the characters feel alive and dynamic.
The tracks are stunning and are all inspired by the characters in the game. Players can race through Toon Town, soar through the clouds of Mount Olympus, ride through a black and white world inspired by Steamboat Willie, and even be a guest at Beast’s castle. Whilst there are only a few tracks at present, each come with many different variations keeping them fresh.
Whilst the tracks are gorgeous, it’s the music that comes with racing through the Disney worlds that have us in awe. Remixes of ‘Zero to Hero’, ‘Gaston’, the Monsters, Inc. theme, ‘Steamboat Willie’ and ‘I’ll Make a Man Out of You’ rev up the gameplay and make for a more exhilarating, immersive and entertaining ride through the brilliantly designed Disney tracks.
Unlocking characters is a little bit of a grind especially if you want a specific character. However, it’s wholly satisfying when you finally get the character you want. The same goes for leveling up characters. Whilst it’s difficult to find upgrade pieces early in the game, especially to level up your character past level 10, it’s enticing seeing the stats of your favorite character get better and better. The customization may not be as deep as Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, but Disney Speedstorm still offers plenty of ways to customize your characters and karts to make you stand out from the rest.
Whilst the game is a ton of fun, there are still a few hiccups that hopefully can be quickly addressed. For example, currency, character tokens, crew tokens and upgrade parts are fairly difficult to come by, particularly if you have finished the Starter Circuits and Season Tours. If you haven’t already unlocked Mulan after the third chapter of the Starter Circuit, you may be waiting a while before you can finish every chapter. Likewise, with as much content as Disney Speedstorm, if you get stuck trying to unlock a character in order to progress through the Starter Circuit, you will quickly run out of things to do. There are Limited Events, daily challenges, and the Season Tour, but once you finish the two chapters of the Season Tour there isn’t much to keep you there until the next day when the Limited Events have refreshed.
All in all, Disney Speedstorm is a great kart racer elevated by its Disney/Pixar content. The gameplay is smooth and familiar, the character roster is vast and the track’s are simply magical. Additionally, Disney Speedstorm’s music is sensational, revving up the game’s infectious fun. Sadly, the game’s somewhat tiresome grind holds Disney Speedstorm back, and if you haven’t unlocked Mulan by the time Chapter 4 of the Starter Circuit rolls around, it may take a few days of grinding before you can proceed.
- Familiar Gameplay
- Expansive Character Roster
- Immersive Disney Themed Worlds
- Thrilling Remixed Disney Music
- Somewhat Tiresome Grind
- Locked Character’s Prevent Progression