With the release of Shrek Kart last week, I thought it would be fitting to highlight what is being called the best kart racing game on the iPhone/iPod Touch. Cocoto Kart Online, which made its way to the App Store last month, doesn’t have the well-known and/or cute cast of characters its competitors have to offer. What it does offer, however, is affordability and online multiplayer, both of which no one else is offering at the moment.
Maybe $2.99-7.99 doesn’t seem like that pricey of a purchase—though $7.99 is outrageous—but 99 cents? I couldn’t help but instinctively tap “install” when I saw Cocoto’s current sale price. Saving $2 or more is all well and good, and yes having online multiplayer for a racing game is an essential feature (unless you’re, you know, underground during your commute), but that’s all for naught if the gameplay is dreadful (see: Car Jack Streets for free last weekend. No thanks).
Well, to make this easy, if you have any fond memories left over from Mario Kart 64 then I couldn’t recommend this to you more. All kart racers today borrow from the king, but the sound, the handling and even the items (thunderbolt anyone?) all have a comforting familiarity here. It’s still not going to rid you of all the regret you feel for ever selling your Nintendo 64 at a stoop sale in 2000, but it helps.
Cocoto offers 12 characters to choose from, eight to start and, as previously alluded to, all really unattractive. So choose the racer you will love unconditionally and pick from Quick Race, Single Track or Grand Prix, where you can unlock five additional tracks. You can also do a Quick Race-styled online multiplayer game that will place you in an open room at whatever track they happen to be playing. There’s also Battle Mode. This is fairly typical if you’ve played a kart racer before. Limited surface area, lots of items, last kart standing.
The gameplay video above shows off one of four different ways to drive, two of which will make you look like an idiot in public. Tilt movement (with or without auto gas) is surprisingly smooth. Though the harder the courses, the sharper the turns, the more flailing you’ll do to avoid falling off the edge of the track. The one in the video shows off the digital pad without auto gas. Auto gas eases you into the game, but it’s also restrictive when you really need to take control whipping around a corner.
In the end you could just call Cocoto Kart Online a Mario Kart 64 knockoff, but it’s a solid knockoff nonetheless. It doesn’t have the same charms in level design or character choices, and you won’t be referencing it in a blog post in 12 years, but for 99 cents, a poor version of Mario Kart is a compliment Cocoto should accept gracefully.