Jennifer Wilber holds a B.A. in English and an Associate's in Computer Game and Simulation Design. She is a life-long gamer.
What Is “Hello Kitty Kruisers”?
Hello Kitty Kruisers is a kart racing game that was originally released for Wii U in 2014, and was recently ported to the Nintendo Switch. For what it is, Hello Kitty Kruisers isn’t a terrible game, as long as you don’t come to it with inflated expectations of it being the next Mario Kart. This is a game that is clearly targeted at young children and was likely developed with a very limited budget. The game is simplistic and has a few noticeable bugs. That said, it is still a charming kart racer and provides some entertainment value for young children, as well as older fans of Hello Kitty.
“Hello Kitty Kruisers” Game Play
The game play in Hello Kitty Kruisers is reminiscent of other kart racing games like the Mario Kart series. You choose your racer and compete against other overly cute characters to take first place. There are a variety of power-up items to help you win that you can obtain from sphere-shaped items containers on each racetrack. You can even drift around corners, just like in Mario Kart, though it isn’t as vital in this slower-paced racing game.
The vehicles are very slow compared to similar kart racing games, even when using speed boosting items. This was likely done as a deliberate choice because the game is targeted at young children. There is no way to change the difficulty settings, so you are stuck with slow karts and not-so-intelligent AI.
Different races will have you driving different types of vehicles. Each track is designed for either race cars, boats, or planes. As you play, more cars, boats, and planes will be unlocked for you to choose. There doesn’t seem to be much variation in performance between different vehicles (if any), so it doesn’t make much difference which one you choose at the start of each race.
This game can be played either single player or multiplayer. The multiplayer modes allow for couch co-op play (no online).
This game is a bit glitchy. I noticed bugs with hit detection, where items occasionally go through enemy CPU players without harming them. Other glitches I noticed were more cosmetic, including clipping issues and an arrow pointing in the wrong direction in one of the Adventure mode challenges. The AI isn’t that great, and you will often find yourself lapping the CPU players, who can sometimes be found driving their vehicle head-first into a wall, repeatedly.
This game does feel a bit unpolished and cheap, as though the developers were working with a very limited budget and deadline (which they likely were). There are only about five unique stages, with the rest of the stages simply recycling the first courses, reworking them for different vehicles or making other minor changes.
The stages that stood out the most were the “Cosmic Way” tracks, which were clearly inspired by Mario Kart’s “Rainbow Road.”
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There is unlockable content, including new characters and vehicles. These unlockables can be earned quickly though normal gameplay. By the time I finished all four tours and the Adventure mode challenges once, I had already unlocked everything the game has to offer. This took about an hour, maybe two at the most.
Hello Kitty Kruisers offers several games modes. In single player, you can choose from Quick Play, Tournament, or Adventure modes. With 2-4 players, you are limited to Quick Play or Tournament modes. These different modes are straight forward.
This mode allows you to pick a single track to race on against CPU players. Choose this mode if you don’t want to play through an entire 4-track tour. This mode can be played with 1-4 players. Use this mode if you just want to try out a vehicle or track quickly.
Tournament mode lets you compete in a four-track tour. You will race with a variety of vehicles, including cars, boats, and planes throughout the course of each tour. Once you complete each tour, the next tour will be unlocked. There are four tours in all. Tournament mode was the most entertaining part of this game, especially when played with another player.
Adventure mode is only available as single player. In this mode, you test your skills against various one player challenges. There are four different types of challenges in this mode: cupcake hunt, rainbow gates, time trial, and apple run. I found this mode to be a bit boring and tedious. Perhaps younger children will find it more challenging and entertaining. Beating the last challenge does not earn you any special reward, or even an acknowledgement of completing. You simply return to the mode’s menu screen where nothing new has unlocked.
Who Should Play This Game?
Hello Kitty Kruisers will appeal most to very young children, mainly little girls (and perhaps some boys) who are fans of Hello Kitty or other Sanrio characters. Because of its simple controls and light amount of content, I would say children between 4-6 would most enjoy this game. Older kids may find it lacking in challenge and that there isn’t enough content to hold their interests.
Adults will likely get bored of this one quickly if they are expecting something approaching the level of Mario Kart. Hello Kitty fans who just want a cute game featuring their favorite Sanrio characters will probably find this game charming, if simple, and will get some entertainment value out of it.
If you are a fan of Hello Kitty or have young children who would appreciate a cute, simple racing game, I recommend this game, but only if you can get a good deal. While it probably isn’t worth paying full-price for, if you can find it on sale or a cheap used copy, go for it!
Honestly, I did find it entertaining enough for the price I paid for it (about $12 used). I can see myself pulling this title out occasionally just to revisit the cute characters and charming, if simplistic, colorful world (or as a joke/novelty when guests are visiting). While it is no Mario Kart, because I greatly enjoy cute things like Sanrio’s Hello Kitty, it is a worthwhile addition to my Nintendo Switch collection.
© 2019 Jennifer Wilber