It made so much sense we're still wondering why it didn't happen before, but the truth is that the kart racer based on Paw Patrol is finally releasing on September 30 on every platform. At Gamescom the other day we took part in a couple of races (as Rubble, but of course) and also talked with Outright Games' production manager Loz Doyle to learn all about the game:
As a kart racer in the vein of Mario Kart you can expect four players via split-screen, simple controls, items, boosts, jumps, traps, and even some customisation, and we naturally were overtaken right when we were about to cross the finish line as first.
"We made a few Paw Patrol games now, they're very, very popular, it's a massive brand for kids. And we thought, well, look, in the TV show they're always in their vehicles. They're always going on rescue missions, they're always driving around. So, there's always something having to do with the vehicles and that would make for a perfect racing game. So that was the reason we went for it. We've got a studio, 3DClouds, they are really good at making this kind of racing games, they're really enthusiastic".
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Additional elements to racing
We saw Mayor Humdinger messing around as expected, and even Chickaletta, so we also wanted to know what are kids going to find beyond pure racing.
"It's fun just racing around the track, but it's more fun when there are more things to do. And you can pick up different power-ups that are on the track, and then you can use those to take out your
enemies, rivals, and you can also can pick up pup treats, and once you've get your own collection of pup treats that's when you can activate your pup skills. For example, Marshall has a water balloon".
Unlockable pups and Story Mode
We saw the usual suspects as playable dogs, but the final couple was greyed out... And don't expect Liberty, sadly, as this is focused on the TV series and not on the movies.
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"We wanted to make sure that the kids could play as their favourite character straight away so all the main characters are there from the beginning, and then as you play through the adventure that's when you start to unlock a few of the extra karts really fast. But then, on top of that, you have customisation options for your characters. You can wear different hats, you can get different boost trails, different skins for the vehicles. And that's what you unlock as go through the story. It's a fun way to enhance your vehicle".
Playable racers list
- Zuma (unlockable)
- Tracker (unlockable)
Similarly to Mario Kart on Switch, and as a very welcomed feature for both 3-4 year old kids and newcomers to video games, Paw Patrol: Grand Prix has some handling aids, but not gyro controls for steering on Switch or PlayStation.
"The autodrive... If you are really young... Cause Paw Patrol is appealing to two and three years old as well, and maybe they've never played before but they can still have a game they can put on autodrive and they'll still have a great time. You can let the game control the vehicle and they can just use the power-ups. It's really nice. And then you can have the parents playing without the assist on and it gives that nice little balance. Would they let the children win, who knows?"
But we won't. From our time racing on Paw Patrol: Grand Prix, even though it doesn't look or feel as smooth as say Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Team Sonic Racing or Crash Team Racing, it is more focused and less confusing than Chocobo GP, and given the aids and the target audience, it could well become a hit among parents and children both now that they're getting back to school and even up until Christmas.