What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this MMOG (massive multiplayer online game), in beta, was very addictive. In fact, it has 150 million fans in Korea. For these short races there are no real rules of the road, so kids won't learn responsible driving by playing. Players are also subject to the occasional rude and inappropriate play and comments of others they race against, which is why Common Sense Media only recommends online games for kids 12 and up. Watch out for extra costs: The game makes money by having its players upgrade cars and characters. A new virtual car can cost up to $10. Outfitting your character with cool gear costs about $2-3 per item.
What's it about?
If you love Mario Kart you'll love KARTRIDER. This online Nexon game that was free to play during its recent open beta in North America garnered 150 million fans in Korea soon after it launched. Fans in the U.S. and Canada loved playing the racing game, which makes money for the company when the player upgrades a car or a character. Nexon believes its own cel-shaded characters Dao and Dizini are so cute and cuddly that they're destined to be as popular as Nintendo's Mario and Luigi. That remains to be seen.
The beauty of the game is in its ease of play. Just use your keyboard's directional arrows to move forward, slow down, and steer; your CTRL button to launch a bomb; and your shift button to drift. Just like driving school, you'll go through various tutorials before you can begin racing as a rookie. KartRider has 450 levels, 10 ranks from Beginner to God, and 18 environments for racing. Players can bring along a teammate or be matched with those who are at their level of play for a seven-person race in the typical racing venues -- ranging from the tropics to cemeteries to a place full of cookies and sweets.
Is it any good?
Five modes of play add variety, but most players enjoy normal mode the most. Here, you'll toss water bombs at other drivers in an effort to slow them down. Another mode, called Hedgehog, turns you into the tiny, spiny mammal with special powers like the ability to pop water bombs.
A word of warning, though. Once the game itself is launched, downloading the free game program can take up to an hour with a slower connection.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the differences between arcade racing and real driving. If you love arcade car racing, you can talk about the similarities to Nintendo's Mario Kart series. Families can also talk about fair play and MMOGs. Some players do things like just sitting in a lane and trying to block others from racing. There's always a rotten apple somewhere in an MMO.