Kart racing can be a blast as you can race against your friends as well as those that you never have met as you try to make the laps in the best time and try to finish in the first place. But with the pressure of racing can come the start of the race all the way to the final seconds of the final lap. But does Developer Ivanovich Games reinvent the kart-type racer by giving us some surprises to go along with the chaos? Let’s find out with Touring Karts for PCVR.
Touring Karts is, of course, a kart racer that can be played both in solo and online as you try to collect enough money to race on the next circuit to collect as many trophies as you can. If you have enough funds you can either bank those or use them to unlock the next circuit or ways to customize your car and your gear which is inspired by real-life tracks and teams (which I kept unlocking the circuits/tracks and kept forgetting to upgrade my car). As you can see, there is a ton of trophies to try to win.
When you first start out, you might be surprised by the number of control options you have. From using from the keyboard, keyboard + motion controller, classic controllers such as a DualShock 4 controller or even the Xbox One controller, Steering Wheel, Steering Wheel + Motion controller, Motion controllers or even the use of the 3Drudder + Motion controller. So you really do have an amazing amount of control options to select from.
When I first started playing Touring Karts, I was using the Oculus Rift S touch controllers as it allowed me to steer with my left and pick up power-ups by raising my right hand and at first, it took a little bit of time to get used to everything, but it worked very well. I can only imagine having a racing wheel and using that to paly. I then started to use the Classic controller option which works very well as well if you have a controller, such as the DualShock 4 and Xbox One controllers. So just find out what works for you and you just not only surprise yourself but by others when they ask you what you are using because of the place you are coming in.
Now before you jump in and try to rule the circuits, embrace the tutorial as you can do some pretty cool things. Not only do you get to pick the team you want to represent, but you being the competitor that you are, need to make sure that all those that you left in the dust to make sure they can read your plate. So chose wisely, but remember, there are just so many letters you can fit on a plate, so I go with “THEVRD”. And you might be asking why are the plates important? Well, just as you have a selection of controller options, you have viewing options. You can go with you being in the seat first-person view, which seeing cars out of your side mirrors is pretty awesome, but keep this in mind, this view, unless you have your VR legs per se, the nausea factor maybe a little too much for some. There is also a view where you are sitting in your kart looking at the screen or maybe my favorite is the 3rd-person view where the karts are smaller (yes my pumpkin helmet is truly awesome).
Now, I did mention power-ups and there are plenty here, in fact, there are 45 power-ups for you to find out for yourself. There are power-ups such as a sledgehammer that you can smash the other racers with, bananas to make them spin out, drinks that give you energy, bazookas that you can shoot in front as well as behind you (any objects that you can throw ahead of you, can also be thrown behind you), chickens that you can throw that will grow and just cause havoc. Yes, you read that right, chickens can be thrown that grow that will run you over, so it really does answer the question of why did the chicken cross the road? But the thing about the power-ups is sure, you can grab an item and throw it, but being able to merge them is something special that can help you possibly gain an advantage.
But gaining the advantage to first place is not just done by power-up alone, you need to also learn the ways of drifting and drift you will, that is until the track decides to have a life of its own. Then it will throw all your hopes and dreams right at you to see if you can survive and you drift and fall off the track losing all motivation you had of that for sure first place spot. But when you drift, the longer you hold it, you do have a boost of speed that will help you and if you can time it right and hit a ramp, the way you can just fly in the air is somewhat very satisfying and as satisfying as it is, that was taking away from me on many occasions when I hit the ramp, was flying like an eagle for a brief time only to see a power-up that I overshot to have a racer behind me grab it and use it against me. So thank you speed + gravity…thank you.
Being Early Access, Touring Karts is still growing and it is growing in the right direction. I would love to see more options when it comes to customizing the vehicles such as adding variations of logos and license plates. For example, if you have your own brand, being able to upload that and import it so you can have it on your helmet or car would be a nice touch. Another thing that is more of a wishful thing, would be like a friendly wager type of mode so if you are racing against someone you could put up the helmet you have and if you did not win and you wagered your helmet, you can’t have it any more unless you earn it or win it back. Just something that would be fun to see.
Touring Karts does offer a lot for where it stands now. When it does release in its full glory, it will be cross-platform eight-player races with no wait times and new daily challenges. And if you are wondering what I mean when I say cross-platform, not only is Touring Karts fully playable in VR but can also be played in Non-VR as well as mobile. So that means PlayStation VR vs Steam vs Nintendo vs Apple and Google all coming together having a blast playing and when you add leaderboards on top of all this, Touring Karts is something that everyone can play and everyone can look forward to.
Touring Karts is an Early Access Game and is available now on the Oculus Store and Steam and will also be coming to PlayStation VR on December 12, 2019, Nintendo eShop in, Viveport, SpringboardVR, the App Store, and the Google Play Store. A review code was provided.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have some leaderboards to climb, power-ups to merge, and who knows, maybe race against you.