Shrek Kart HD is a Mario Kart clone set in the unique fantasy world of Shrek, the green ogre and star of three hot Dreamworks movies.
The game is solid and plays well, but a major bug and a strange omission hold the title back. The game takes place around Ye Grande Tournament, a collection of events and races set in Shreks world. There are a lot of tracks that display a lot of variety and actually use the source material well, with each level having a distinct look that differentiates it from the others.
The game plays as you would expect a Karting game to work, with acceleration automatic and buttons for jumping, brakes and two weapon abilities. Shrek Kart uses tilt as its default steering mechanism, which was fine on a small smartphone, but proves cumbersome and tiring on a tablet, so switching to the alternate touch control method should be anyones first port of call.
Overall it does play well, and has a nice turbo mechanic based on drifting, but there is an overall lightweight feel to the play. If the game was slowed down a bit, the karts made a little smaller on the track and they didn’t turn so sharply, then you would feel more in control instead of just trying to stay on the track through all the chaos.
That isn’t to say the game doesn’t play well, but a little more refinement would help a lot here.
There is an almost game breaking bug that can rear its head. When you are going through the games main mode, you get the option, after completing a race or tournament to either continue to the next tournament or leave the game. The problem is the game doesn’t tell you that you are going to lose all your progress if you choose to leave.
So, after winning a few races and lifting one of the cups, the game asks you whether you want to continue to the next cup or exit. Don’t exit. The game only seems to save your progress at certain points, and there is no warning that progress is going to be lost. So, as you go through the races and ‘character unlocked’ or ‘track unlocked’ appears, you could lose all this in an instant.
I’m told this issue was in the smartphone version as well, so the fact that it is still here is baffling. Why not just save the progress after every race, or tournament? Why can’t things you have unlocked remain unlocked?
Despite this odd bug, there is a lot of content here, such as a challenge mode that allows you to play through dozens of achievement style challenges, a battle mode where you fight your way through arenas against cpu opponents and also a single race mode.
This large amount of interesting modes just about makes up for the unlocking problems, and mean that, if you love the game there is a lot of things to do here, especially in the challenges section.
The graphics are fairly good, the tracks looking particularly nice, with bright and bold colours, but the karts and characters are a little too angular. It all runs smoothly, although the framerate tends to drop at busy times, such as the start of a race, or in the smaller battle arenas.
The TouchPad version has a couple of extras thrown in over the phone title, with a handy mini map on screen at all times, and the ability to customise the controls nicely by moving the virtual buttons around to your preferred spot. It is missing one big thing that is on iPad, and that is multiplayer support. It may be that HP hasn’t released an API for Wi-Fi of Bluetooth play, I don’t really know, but the fact remains that this is a karting game without a multiplayer component and that is a big miss for Shrek Kart HD.
Overall, this is a solid and fun title that has plenty of content for the single player but none for those looking to race their friends. A big bug spoils the main Grand Prix mode, but the great challenge mode, as well as the battle mode, helps compensate for this.