Written by: Raccoon
SuperTuxKart is a game I discovered on a random whim when I was looking through Linux's Software Manager. It's sort-of what you'd expect: A Mario Kart styled racing game. But it's really odd. In a good way. The characters come from Open Source projects that are available on Linux--- for example, Lakitu's role of holding the "on your mark, get set, go" light is given to the Mozilla Thunderbird. Which is the program I use to check my email.
And yes, while I completely stylize and theme my computer to look like a mix of Windows 3.1 and Windows 95, I'm actually running Ubuntu.
The first thing I really liked was that you can use real controllers with it. This works out great for me because I fucking hate playing video games with keyboards and mice. I am a console gamer through and through. So when a computer game lets me use a controller it's great because that's what I'm used to. I mapped my controls to a PlayStation DualShock controller and we were off.
One thing that's pretty cool about this game is it has user-created add-ons. You can get new characters, tracks and other stuff really easily. It's all listed and all you have to do is click "install" and it adds it right in. Absolutely awesome.
So I kicked off with story mode, and... holy fuck.
So this crazy bastard ABDUCTS A MOTHERFUCKER INTO HIS SPACE SHIP. The animation on this is bonkers. Like, I know this isn't a professional game by any means but holy shit. It's like Xavier: Renegade Angel levels of 3D animation. And that's a fucking mess.
This game actually has an overworld on it. You drive around and if you have enough points, more levels open up and you can enter them. In this regard it's similar to Diddy Kong Racing, which hypes me up because Diddy Kong Racing is my favorite racing game of all time.
Also, the story mode is less about racing the characters and more about beating the time. That's a stupid and confusing dynamic.
Okay. So I set this to the beginner difficulty and this game is kicking my ass. I have had to do the same race several times just to get the proper time. You gotta grab nitro, boost forward and go fast as fuck. This is harder than I thought it would be.
But that's just the story mode. If I were just doing actual races, this game would be WAY too easy. The AI ends up miles behind me, and without the rubber banding of Mario Kart 64 I just wind up so far ahead of them I never stand a chance of losing. It's really weak.
It's interesting to note that in story mode, if you hit gas too early you're actually penalized by having some of your time taken away. That really betrayed my instincts because in games like Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing, you can get bonus speed for hitting the gas early. But I learned the hard way that I'm not playing Mario Kart.
This game doesn't want to be just a Mario Kart clone, so it throws all this gimmicky shit at you that's actually kinda cool. There's unique weapons (like bubble gum that sticks to the ground, a giant fly swatter that flattens people around you, a huge bowling ball, etc.) and I really like them a lot.
The graphics in this game are good, but the cutscenes are a fucking mess and I saw the seam that connects the sky a couple times from the camera going too high. It made me feel like I was in a box, rather than racing in an open world. The music is good but forgettable and despite being pretty straightforward with it's logic, I did get thrown off by a few things because I was going on instincts of other kart racers I had played. The game was only hard because of the time trials of the story mode, but the actual races were WAY too easy. This game has definite potential but needs a bit more tweaking before it's really worth noting.