The iDevice was practically made for racing games with its nifty accelerometer, which gives the sense of driving as we tilt it left and right, more than occasionally causing some shifty glances to come our way in public. But we never really care, because we’re usually enjoying ourselves. Well, you may find yourself cursing when trying to tilt your kart in Cocoto Kart, but luckily its online features will keep you playing happily.
It becomes quickly apparent that Cocoto Kart is a promising title, from its origin on the Wii & DS to its fully featured gameplay. That is, unless your first glance is at the loading screen which doesn’t disappear, which did happen a few too many times for us. When it does load, however, a full roster of characters greets you, accompanied by a good regiment of tracks to race on. It has three different offline modes, from quick race to single track to Grand Prix, not to mention the battle and racing modes online.
In racing games, it’s always a good idea to GO!
One of the first things you’ll notice (if you ever played on an N64) is that Cocoto Kart is essentially identical to Mario Kart. It has the same heads-up display, the same items system, and the same battle mode. Three glowing red orbs that circle around you, which you received from a floating glowing diamond in the track? Yep, that’s Mario Kart.
Unlike the N64’s controller, which is bigger than the iDevice, Cocoto’s controls are run on the accelerometer. The developers have broken the golden rule of the iDevice by not offering calibration and sensitivity settings for the accelerometer, which leads to turns that hurl you off of cliffs or into fences far too easily, but this problem is somewhat sidestepped by the alternative control systems available. Apart from that, the one other contributing factor to the problem is the unreasonably steep difficulty curve in even the easiest offline races, which does a good job of discouraging you to bother with them.
Speaking of being thrown off cliffs and losing races, you’ll feel some pity for your character if those things happen, because each character is bursting with personality in their stylized, animated depiction. Even though the graphics of the environment don’t measure up as well to rival games, the fantastic settings of the courses make up for this. Matching this is the cartoony music and cute squeaks and squeals of the characters, which we can’t help but smile at.
Items in diamonds? Nope, never seen that before.
Cocoto Kart has a substantial online mode, one that is arguably the focus of the game itself. Once you get past connection issues, which we experienced a few times, you are greeted with the opportunity to race or battle against other players. There is no local wifi or Bluetooth option, but there are tables you can join to race against particular people.
The Battle Mode is again very similar to the Mario Kart mode of the same name, but it still has good variety in the tracks and items (which, sadly, have no tutorial explaining them). Also, as much as Mario Kart emphasized multiplayer with its battle mode, it never had online capabilities enabling you to play in a matter of seconds with people around the world, which Cocoto is quite good at.
Cocoto Kart has a streamlined online aspect, but it is certainly not perfect. The accelerometer controls and many of the offline features could use work, and the game could do a better job of easing you into gameplay. The more technical bugs need to be cleaned up too, but apart from that, Cocoto offers some great online fun for a paltry price.