Following the success of licensed games like South Park: The Fractured But Whole and Transformers: Devastation, many industry talking heads and fans alike began asking: what ever happened to licensed games? Sure, games like Marvel’s Spider-Man will have you nostalgic about cross-branding glory days. However, recent screenshots of the newly-revealed Nickelodeon Kart Racers will likely trigger a flashback to some awful PS2 and Wii-era licensing deals gone wrong.
Let me start off: I’m not making a final judgment on Nickelodeon Kart Racers. It’s coming out sometime in 2018, but we’ve yet to see any trailers or gameplay to tip off how it plays. But even as one of those 90’s kids that developer GameMill Entertainment and Solutions 2 Go may be looking to capture, something about Hey Arnold! Helga’s death stare lacks the charm that Luigi’s brought. Rugrats‘ Reptar is staring back at me with cold, vacant eyes. Is that pain that I see? Or is he simply just searching his soul for Reptar Bars.
Outside of uncanny valley criticism, the screenshots released highlight a few different things. We see stages inspired by Rugrats‘ playpen, Hey Arnold!‘s city, and the sewers from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. We also can see what looks like an iconic set of sub-weapons to match up against the likes of the Blue Shell: football, bubbles, bottle, and acorns.
Nickelodeon Kart Racers will release on “all major consoles” for Holiday 2018, just in time for a bunch of kids to be disappointed with Christmas gifts. Including this poor shmuck, who will (without a doubt) be buying it. Also, check out the screenshots below: