Chocobo GP Review (Switch) | Nintendo Life

Square Enix first entered the kart racing scene back in 1999 with Final Fantasy. Chocobo Racing on the original PlayStation. All things considered, the game was a fairly average effort; the game had a few unique ideas of its own, such as a selection of special moves to choose from before the race and a cute pop-up book style story mode to introduce its characters, but when it came down to the all-important racing action, it was let down by a combination of unsatisfactory tracks and lack of precision in handling.

Fast forward 23 years, and you might forgive us for being a little underwhelming at the prospect of returning to the world of Final Fantasy-inspired karting with Chocobo GP, a direct sequel to a forgotten original that saw a rocky road to development. It was announced back in 2010 for the 3DS before being shut down entirely in 2013 and then revived – if only in name and spirit – in the last couple of years.

However, Square Enix has only proven us completely wrong in our cynicism; Contrary to all expectations, the Chocobo GP is actually a bit of a belter. It’s a vibrant and colorful kart racing game filled with modes, unlockable characters, and cosmetic items, and more importantly, it provides enjoyable track action with smooth controls and major improvements to level design, making racing exciting and chaotic.

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Let’s start with modes. There’s the usual selection of single-player and multiplayer offerings, including cup and custom races, time attack, local two-player split-screen co-op, and an online lobby – the last of which we couldn’t access in time for this review. This is then backed up by the game’s story mode and the titular Chocobo GP itself, a 64-player online knockout competition in which drivers compete in eight-player heats, with the top four advancing to the next stage until those left standing fight in a grand finale. We were invited to try out this mode for evaluation purposes, but unfortunately, we weren’t able to find a game during the short access window, so we’ll have to wait and see if it delivers on a promise that absolutely exists. Keep for updates.

What we did manage to jump in, nonetheless, was there was all the single-player content here, and there’s certainly plenty to get stuck on in that regard. We started our time with the story mode, and let’s get that out of the way from the first doors; it’s one weak element in a strong game, a completely pointless affair that is quite obviously aimed at younger kids. Attempts at tongue-in-cheek humor fail here, and you’re free to take the lessons he offers and then skip the rest of his tedious cutscenes to go through his races and get a selection of unlockable characters and tracks. he rewards you for your patience. Yes, diehard Final Fantasy fans might enjoy this a little more than we do, as it has a ton of references to events in the franchise’s history, but the writing is so excruciatingly bad, and the cutscenes are so unnecessarily long that we think. Even the most excitable FF fans will quickly tire of it.

However, moving on from that one rough spot and it’s all gravy, with playable racing series providing a generous 12 cups to race your way – alone or with a buddy in split-screen – each of those cups mixes up nine games. Accessible tracks give you hyper speedy, long, short, and technical options to master them. The selection of trails on offer is a huge improvement over what the Chocobo GP predecessor had, with the likes of Alexandria, Chocobo Farm, Zozo, Monster Village, and Sid’s test track all looking fantastic and providing plenty of shortcuts and obstacles to navigate as you master the polished kart racing mechanics behind the action.
This racing mechanic is, as perhaps already expected, exactly the same experience as the all-conquering Mario Kart 8, where your racer can drift through corners to activate two levels of acceleration perform tricks from jumps and ramps to further increase speed. Opportunities and snatch offensive items from item boxes, here replaced with “fairy eggs” that contain various elemental “magicians.” Magicians give you access to fire, wind, water, and lightning attacks, as well as more creative moves like nifty portals that you can use to get ahead of the pack while racing.
Chocobo GP then adds to this by granting each of the 23 (!) Final Fantasy characters a special ability that can be used multiple times during the race as the bar in the bottom left of the screen fills up. Shiva can unleash an icy blast that freezes other players in place, such as Maduin obliterating other racers as he furiously rushes forward, Irma gaining extra power-ups to play with, and Ifrit sending a mighty wall of flames onto the track to destroy any the cards are stupid enough to sit right in front of him.

It’s a shame we haven’t been able to test the multiplayer aspects of this game yet, but if the netcode works, we think the 64-player Chocobo GP mode could be the icing on the cake. The perfect accompaniment to an already decent selection of solo and co-op modes. Square Enix is ​​also releasing a free “Lite” version at launch that allows players to try out a limited sample of what the game has to offer, with all of your progress carried over if you then decide to splash out on the full version.

It’s a move that signals certain confidence in the game, and that confidence isn’t misplaced – we think Chocobo GP is on par with the very best kart racers currently available on Switch. No, we can’t believe we’re saying this either. It’s a nifty and addictive game filled with tons of modes, a large cast of characters, and some great tracks to get to grips with. With a lot of characters, including the likes of Cloud Strife himself, due to appear with the game’s paid season pass, and we’re sure there will be new tracks and other online events in the future, this is one racer we’ll stick with for Near future.

Conclusion

Chocobo GP is a delightful surprise from Square Enix, a sleek and addictive game that features chaotic kart racing featuring a large roster of Final Fantasy characters battling it out on well-designed tracks inspired by locations from the franchise’s history. Yes, the story mode can be a bit of a misfire, but with plenty of other single-player content to dig into and the promise of 64-player carnage in Chocobo GP’s online mode, this is one of the most polished and fun kart racing ever. . It is currently available on Switch, and since the free Lite version is coming out at launch, you have nothing to lose if you check it out for yourself before you make a purchase.

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