Red Bull is back on the wagon with their fascination with all things extreme and sporty. Their marketing team has ranged from hosting airplane stunt races to sponsoring a guy to jump from the stratosphere, so it’s no wonder that they have taken to publishing mobile apps that focus on other extreme aspects. The latest is Red Bull Kart Fighter 3 where you strap yourself in to various go-karts, bumper cars and other small wheeled vehicles and race around tracks ranging from jungles to the arctic.
For a mobile game basically sponsored by Red Bull one might expect sub-par…everything. Graphics, controls, features, etc. However, surprisingly Red Bull Kart Fighter 3 is the exactly opposite. One of the more impressive features is actually in the controls. Like in most mobile racing games you have two modes of control; gyroscope and touchscreen. I of course gravitate towards gyroscope and next thing you know I’m waving around my tablet like a madman. But it works very well and a main function of this is that drifting plays a big part in winning, getting ahead of your opponents and keeping up your momentum. Drifting comes very naturally and almost seems automatic but it really gives you a sense of speed and extremity that Red Bull is known for. Other racing control features are fairly standard but there are boosts on the course and ramps which you can do tricks on (180 and 360s) which give you further boosts.
An interesting and vital feature in Red Bull Kart Fighter 3 that is integral into unlocking new maps and vehicles as well as winning is the idea of wildcards. Wildcards are actual “cards” which function as one time use powerups to your vehicle for a single race. They do cost in game coins but not much surprisingly and you can easily earn enough through general racing. These powerups range from giving you extra top speed/acceleration to increased flair points to better drifting ability. While using wildcards are not necessary to win a race it does help and using one and winning grants you extra two star points which are used to unlocking more features. It is also worth knowing that the different vehicles have slightly different wildcards available to them so pick and choose wisely.
Mechanic and his Missions
A decent part of Red Bull Kart Fighter 3 is in its social aspect where you can challenge your Facebook friends to multiplayer races and brag about your top course times. However, a mobile game needs a good singleplayer incentive to survive in my opinion and the way Kart Fighter 3 accomplishes this is through the helpful mechanic character and his missions. I feel most games have mission or objectives nowadays (at least most flash based browser games do) and it really engages the player and increases replay value. The missions here are fairly straight forward and you do one at a time. This is kind of annoying since I’m used to games where you get three or so at a time because I have found that you can get stuck quite easily on a mission requiring a vehicle you don’t have unlocked. While annoying it is still a great feature that keeps you playing. There is a slight workaround, however, in an arcade style roulette mode. This mode randomizes what map pack, course, vehicle and wildcard you use which is great because you can then play maps and race cars you may not unlock for quite some time.
I mentioned how surprised I was at how good the controls were in Red Bull Kart Racing 3 but I was also very surprised at the graphical quality and direction they went in. Everything in Kart Racing 3 is very well done with a cartoony feel to it, but not in a bad way. In fact the graphics of everything ranging from the garage to the actual gameplay is probably my favorite part of the game in general. The amount of detail that is in the varied levels is also worth noting as while you’re racing in a nice city landscape you’ll see car crashes in your peripherals, oil spills on the wall or weirder things like dinosaurs and kraken. It all ties in together to make Red Bull Kart Racing 3 a silly yet serious racing mobile game that just screams intense and extreme!