KartRider is a web-game phenomenon, played by more than 200 million players, including a third of South Korea. So how is it on the iPhone? Pretty great.
KartRider Rush, like the web-version of the game, is a free-to-play kart racer that features cartoonish graphics, fun maps and a collection of items you can use to attack enemies, defend yourself or speed things up. So basically it's Mario Kart with different maps, karts, characters and items. But that's not a bad thing.
The game's controls are pretty straight forward. There is no gas pedal, because, honestly, who ever takes their foot, finger or thumb off the gas in an arcade racer? Instead you're always driving pedal to the medal and you've got a brake button to slow things down and a drift button to take those tight corners. You can hold up to two items at a time, which are used by tapping their on-screen icon. Finally, you steer by tilting your device.
The item selection is pretty straightforward, with banana peels, water bombs, paint that you can tap to prevent from screwing you up and a neat attack that flips your opponents view and controls for a few seconds.
The game also includes a non-item mode, forcing players to concentrate on their cornering and drifting rather than which items they're lucky enough to pick up.
While KartRiders Rush comes with a fair amount of free content, any hardcore player is eventually going to start picking up the packs sold in the game's garage. These packs include new drivers, karts and maps and seem to run about $2, which seems a bit pricey.
You can unlock quite a few items, including one more map, but eventually you're going to have to just deal with the limitations or drop some cash on the game.
The two big disappointments for me are the lack of online mulitplayer, instead you race locally with friends, and the fact that the game doesn't in anyway tap into that 200-million large web audience that is so into the original Kart Rider.