The world of kart racers gets a little bit smaller with the release of SMU Guildhall’s HaberDashers. Shrinking the drivers to little mini-mes down might provide a new perspective, but does it manage to provide big thrills?
Taking place in the bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens of our world, players will navigate tracks full of twists, turns, boost pads, and power-ups. It follows the Mario Kart formula to a T, right down to the added boosts that come from drifting. It also manages to have some of the same charm too – seeing these gigantic worlds feels right out of Pixar’s classic movie Toy Story, and the track layouts are fairly inventive.
So what makes HaberDashers different? For one, coins are exchanged for buttons. Players can get an added boost when collecting three or seven buttons at a time, and there are ramps that lead to alternate routes that can give players an edge. There’s also hazards like ink and soap on each track that can be detrimental to other racers.
However, this racer is part and parcel similar to the kart racers you’ve seen before. It’s just a shame that HaberDashers doesn’t have the same amount of polish. Drifts and boosts don’t feel right, with players immediately slowing down after a boost – it’s hard to describe, but it’s not natural. In addition, some power-ups are far too powerful – the magnet slows players down a considerable amount, while the rocket is the equivalent of a blue shell. There are also a number of power-ups that feel like duds, not making that much of an impact. Finally, though it is commonplace for the genre, there is a fair amount of rubber banding to be had in each of its races. In short, it can be downright frustrating dealing with these quirks.
For an added bit of customization, players will be able to adjust the kart body, wheels, and colors of their ride. They can also choose between one of four different racers, which also have their own color variations. There’s not a ton of racers to choose from, and the racers currently available only vary cosmetically, but what is here will get the job done.
It’s just a shame that there’s not a lot of content. With only three tracks and two modes (grand prix and single race), players can see everything this game has to offer in around 20 minutes. These types of titles are meant to be replayed multiple times, and there is support for up to four races, but it just doesn’t feel like enough. Note that there are no achievements to be found in this title, along with a lack of online play.
HaberDashers copies the Mario Kart formula to a T, but a number of design quirks prevent it from reaching the plumber’s heights. It’s far from a bad game, and the aesthetics are truly charming, but the lack of polish and limited content hurt its long term replayability.
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