Web-based, free-to-play Crazyracing Kartrider is so popular in South Korea that some estimate that nearly a third of the country’s population has played the game. Publisher Nexon says the game already has 200 million registered players worldwide.
And now KartRiderRush is coming to the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android.
Like the computer game, KartRiderRush will be free, allowing up to four players to race on a variety of maps. The game will include a battle and time trial mode. It also will allow gamers to race against the iPhone in Item and Speed modes. It won’t support online gaming, at least not at launch, a Nexon rep told me.
While the game seems to have a lot of offer for free, the way it will make its money is through microtransactions, allowing gamers to purchase new tracks, items and characters.
I sat down with a Nexon rep last week, each of us with iPod touch in hand, to run a couple of races. The game is what you’d expect of a cartoonish kart racer. The graphics have a unique cel-shaded look and the tracks include interesting obstacles, like fallen trees and mounds that serve as ramps.
The game’s items are also about what can be expected from a game like this. The biggest surprise was how responsive the karts are. I also discovered that drifting, done with a button push, is much more difficult to master, leading me to believe that there’s a bit more skill involved in this particular kart racer than others.
Because the game is free to purchase, and Nexon only makes money off of microtransactions, I suspect that it will have an unusual amount of support for an iPhone kart racer. That’s the biggest reason to pick this game up when it hits. Most other iPhone kart racers seem to be developed and then forgotten.
While I enjoyed playing the game, what would really push this title over the top is the ability to play online with folks who aren’t in the room with you. I’d also love to see Nexon somehow connect this to their incredibly popular, still-not-in-the US web-based version of the game.
No date has been set for the game’s release. But Nexon tells me soon for the Apple devices and this summer for Android.