Smurfs Kart lacks the substance to match its style

It’s a real testament to how good Mario Kart is that other studios keep trying to catch up but still never quite get it right.

The formula is present, the charm is there, the visuals and the creativity can match, but it seems to come down to that Nintendo level of polish. The meticulous detail in the levels, the balancing of the individual karts, the personality injected into each environment.

We’re closer than we’ve ever been with the likes of Team Sonic Racing, Crash Team Racing, and even Disney Speedstorm. But there remains no true, world-beating comparison to cross the platforms. Sadly, it’s not Smurfs Kart either.

It’s gorgeous to look at, exciting to explore the Smurfs world on a deeper level and there’s some great little tracks, powerups and vehicles to fly around on, but the handling, weapon distribution and course repetition catches up to this one pretty quickly.

An immediate issue I found was being unable to fire most of my weapons backwards, which is a massive part of many a strategy in Mario Kart, allowing you to truly compete on a 360 level. Most of the time, you’re just fish in a barrel for impending projectiles.

Jumps feel so small and meagre, barely a hop as you fly over ramps and hills. And I was even finding that some shortcuts were blocked off to me unless I turned at the exact right time, meaning I got caught in the middle of the track and lost all of my placement and momentum.

Weapon selection also gets pretty limited quite fast and some of it barely feels potent at all with a quick spin out and back at it. It feels like you’re picking up the same things on every corner despite the fact you have two slots and it never feels like it adds a huge amount to your progress.

But the really striking part is the courses. Some of these barely feel any different to the other, which makes flying through cups kind of dull for the most part. Though there’s certainly one or two standouts and you can tackle courses in a mirror mode, which at least gives them a bit of a different flavour.

I guess it’s fair to say each has a theme with the Gargamel Cup clearly for the creepy, horror fans, and Village more for traditional Smurfs fans. Surprisingly, I’d say Village is the least creative of all with courses playing out in a similar way, and Gargamel playing with more interesting ideas that almost make the game feel like Micro Machines.

You can whip through the content in short order and the courses themselves don’t really lend themselves to replayability outside of the mirror modes. Playing locally in multiplayer is a nice touch but a lack of online multiplayer actually really hurts this one too.

Smurfs Kart is a stunning looking game, though. It’s visually as good as anything you’ll see out there in the space with a familiar cast to flick through and some recognisable faces as you tackle each track. It’s masterfully designed to feel right at home in the world. And it does feel mostly bug free, which is refreshing.

Sadly, the music doesn’t really match it outside of one or two tracks – again, the Gargamel Cup surprisingly carries most the content – and the Sound Effects becomes pretty annoying pretty fast.

The pieces just don’t all match together, and the repetition and limitations of the content shine through faster than you might like. It’s a perfectly fine little racer where you can have a few hours of entertainment, and perhaps it’s unfair to compare it to Mario Kart considering how much of a juggernaut it is, but it’s also so hard to look past when a game desperately follows the same template and patterns without much care or regard for being seen any differently.


Smurfs Kart is a perfectly fine kart racer with some nice tracks, beautiful art and lovely interpretations of the world through its environments. It’s just unfortunately limited in its content, variety, and creativity when trying to stand apart or alone from anything else in the genre. And a lack of online multiplayer doesn’t help prolong that. 


+ Beautiful art really stands out
+ A few well designed courses and karts
+ Decent gameplay flow


– Limited variety of content that becomes quite repetitive quickly
– Sound Effects get irritating fast and music repeats regularly
– No Online Multiplayer

Smurfs Kart is out August 22 on PC, Xbox, Switch and PlayStation 

Code Kindly Provided by Microids for review purposes

Played on PlayStation 5

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