Super Indie Karts Preview: Indie Overload


I dusted off my Ouya (literally) to check out the beta of Super Indie Karts, an indie-themed racing game scheduled for release this summer on Steam and Ouya.

It’s no secret what Super Indie Karts is trying to emulate and it does a good job of checking all the boxes— besides a beloved and nostalgic cast of characters. I recognized a few characters on the roster, but there’s a surprising amount of cameos from games that aren’t even released yet. Unless you’re an indie game buff you’ll be facing a sea of unfamiliar faces.

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A few of the games making a cameo:

  • Canabalt
  • Duck Game
  • Toto Temple Deluxe
  • Fist of Awesome
  • Toto Temple Deluxe
  • Whispering Willows
  • Lobodestroyo (In Development)
  • Read Only Memories (In Development)
  • Aegis Defenders (In Development)
  • Adventures of Pip (In Development)

Battle Mode and Time Trials were unavailable to play, and the stat-tracking/kart-customization was not functioning either. But I was able to hop into a couple circuits and get a basic feel of the game overall. The controls felt good and the races went quick. The game’s visuals do a nice job of combining retro sprites with more modern lighting effects and particles, but sometimes this became a bit overwhelming for me. The high speeds, short draw distance, and flat horizon sometimes left me disoriented, and slamming against walls. The design of some courses didn’t help this either.

Here comes the wall.

I noticed that a couple of the indie-themed tracks did a poor job of helping me stay on course, featuring very little visual difference between where I needed to go, and what was a different part of the racetrack altogether. These tracks had segments crossing over themselves and opposing parts of the track sharing the same barriers. I feel like a geezer for having these issues in the first place, but even after running the same course multiple times, I would still find myself turning the wrong direction, or being misled by the layout of the course. I won’t be the only person to suffer this issue, and this doesn’t bode well for a genre that is dependent on an easy “pick-up and play” mentality. The good news is this problem depends on the track you’re playing, and without seeing all the tracks it’s hard to say how pervasive the issue is.

Super Indie Karts has all the basics you’d find in a Nintendo racer, but mostly sticks to the basics. A feature that did stand out to me was the presence of both gems and collectibles on the racetrack. You can three-star a track by collecting a certain amount of gems, finding all the collectibles, and finishing first. It’s a nice addition to add value for the solo gamer or perfectionist.

I’ve collected enough gems and found all the collectibles, unfortunately I’m in 8th place.

I found all the ingredients of a retro kart racer within Super Indie Karts, but I’m unsure if that will be enough. From my limited experience with the game there weren’t many fresh ideas or compelling hooks to get my attention. It felt like off-brand cereal, it might taste the same but you still wish you had the original. But with other game modes, more tracks, and more tweaking it’s too early to give that verdict. We’ll have to wait and see when it officially launches releases June 28, 2015 on Steam and Ouya.

A beta copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this preview. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.