Video Game Review: Hello Kitty and Sanrio Friends 3D Racing (3DS)
As of this writing (November 18, 2014), I have yet to see any reviews for Hello Kitty and Sanrio Friends 3D Racing, so I thought I’d write one. From my understanding, this 3DS game is very similar to the Wii U game Hello Kitty Kruisers, except it has less features and is $10 more expensive than the Wii U game!
Retailing for $29.99, this game is rather expensive for such little content. There are three modes in this game: Quick Play, Tournament, and Adventure. Quick Play allows you to quickly jump into playing one of the sixteen race levels, Tournament mode consists of playing four consecutive race tracks (divided into four sections), and Adventure mode has twenty quick (some you can finish in thirty seconds!) objectives to complete, ranging from collecting apples (rather frustrating) to going through gate checkpoints.
You start off with two characters (Hello Kitty and Badtz-Maru), and the rest of them you unlock (8 unlockable characters, and they all handle the same) as you progress through the game. Getting 1st place in each race in tournament mode usually unlocked either a character or a vehicle (there are a handful of vehicles to unlock but they all handle the same). You can also unlock different color variations of the characters and vehicles, but I’m not sure if anyone would want to play the game that long to unlock everything.
The main draw to this game would be the Hello Kitty world, but unfortunately it’s rather sparse. While it is great that I can eventually unlock two of my favorite characters (Tuxedo Sam and Cinnamoroll), they don’t make any noises or have any text to further expand on their personalities. While there is sixteen levels to play on, be warned, the environments are used over and over again as you play on levels that also utilize airplanes and boats. For example, you will play on a Galaxy level more than once – the levels look mostly the same, except the only difference is the vehicle you are using and the position you are seeing the track from. While it is interesting to pilot an airplane on higher ground and smash into floating comets, it would be nice for the levels to be less re-hashed.
The graphics for the game are bearable (sometimes the levels look very bland, other times there’s a bit of graphical flair), and the 3D (when turned on) adds some further depth to the game (but I turned it off rather quickly as it was aggravating my eyes). There are some small graphical pop-ups and also some small glitched racing mechanics, but nothing that makes the game unplayable. The music is passable and the sound effects seemed to cut in at times when there’s a bit of action on screen. Perhaps the biggest annoyance is the occasional bizarre speed mechanic in the game. At times, it seems as if you’re traveling at a fast speed, and at other times, it feels like you’re going very slow! There are also two ways to play the 3DS game – either by using the control stick, or tilting the 3DS around. I used the control stick as tilting around the 3DS is rather dizzying for me.
Overall, this game is worth a rental at most if you really enjoy the Hello Kitty universe and like racing games. However, for those looking for a game with some more longevity and substantial content, I suggest looking elsewhere. I suppose children may enjoy this game, but I have to admit, even for an adult, I had a small amount of fun. It’s not something you’ll probably play a week later, but for a quick airplane or car ride in real life, this will serve as a small distraction. If you want to buy this game, I would highly consider waiting for the price to drop as I just can’t justify the $30 price tag.
I would recommend the Wii U version over this game. While the Wii U game offers split-screen multiplayer, the 3DS game does not. So if you buy this game, the only people you are able to play with are the computer players in the game. This is rather unfortunate, and further makes the $30 price point a rather blatant cash-in on the beloved Hello Kitty franchise. But if you really want a Hello Kitty racing game for yourself or for a loved one, this is the only Hello Kitty racing game currently on the 3DS. There are better racing games on the 3DS out there, so this game makes for a difficult sell, but it will have its niche audience.