Last year Rendercode Games released Avatar Racedrome which was a fun racing game both locally and online. Does the sequel Avatar Karting continue the trend? Read on to find out.

Avatar Karting is not too dissimilar to it predecessor in terms of presentation and style. Both were done well in the original so why change if it’s not broken. Avatar Karting features a total of 16 tracks to race on which doubles up to 32 if you include the mirrored versions. Races can be performed in single player modes with single races against seven CPU AI drivers, a time trial mode and a championship mode. The championship mode gives you the choice between a short season of 8 races or a full season of 24. Points are earned for each race depending on your finishing position and count towards your season total with the highest points player being crowned the winner.

A local multiplayer mode allows two players to play in split screen or up to eight players using system link. Online multiplayer modes are also well supported and more importantly are actively being played. Like the original, there is support for up to eight players online in single race modes. A lobby system allows players to find games and join them. It works very well and is great to see a XBLIG being actively played online.

The vehicles handle a little differently than in Racedrome and again they do take a while to get used to. Avatar Karting is more about drifting around corners than taking the usual racing line. There are options to adjust the sensitivity of the controls when turning into corners, personally I preferred the default option and was comfortable turning corners after a couple of races. CPU AI is very competitive, other racing games often have formation lap driving opponents but Avatar Karting bucks the trend with AI that are not afraid to overtake and even push others out of the way. I had some annoyance that when colliding I would usually come out the worse with my kart being pushed around by my opponent. An addition to Avatar Karting is that you can now turbo boost, you have a limited burst which replenishes over a short period.

Graphically the game looks very good. Like the original there are some frame rate drops when the music changes tracks but they do not affect the game much. The tracks look more detailed than the original which had a concrete looking surface. A tarmac style surface is now used complete with tyre marks to help gauge corners. The music was sadly not to my liking with a country music soundtrack, I can’t stand the genre and it had me reaching for the volume controls. Sound effects fare much better with decent sounding engine noises.

If you were a fan of the original or simply love racing games then Avatar Karting will be a worthy addition to your game collection. The price of 80 :MSPoints: represents great value for money, there is a lot of content and the playability both locally and online works very well.

You can download the trial or purchase the full version from the Xbox Marketplace.