Disney Speedstorm the new IT Kart Racer on Switch?
Over the past half week or so, I’ve been taking a deep dive into Disney Speedstorm, the soon-to-be free-to-play Disney kart racing game from Gameloft. Right now, as an early access title, the only way to get into the experience is to purchase one of the three founders bundles. Gameloft hooked me up with a copy of the game last week, and after almost a dozen hours across 7 tracks, I think it’s fair to say we might have a new racing kart king on Nintendo Switch.
While it does use the Disney licensing (including characters, music, and assets), the one way that Disney won’t overtake Mario Kart is just in charm. This is a great game, but still doesn’t have that fun, cute Mario charm. And it likely never will. But where it counts – in the racing, track design, and more – I think that Disney Speedstorm actually outpaces Mario Kart in so many ways, despite only having 7 tracks (although each has 4 variations you can race in).
One thing that will need to be said is the frame rate issues on Nintendo Switch are pretty bad. While I assume the game probably runs fine on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, the Switch version is definitely going to take a hit in both the graphical department and the performance department. Still, as I’ve said many times before, having this kind of game on Nintendo Switch is much more valuable as it allows me to grind races and earn rewards, even when all the TVs in my house are in use.
If you’ve played Disney Dreamlight Valley, and wonder what the grind comparison is, I can let you know that they are on opposite ends of the spectrum. I never feel rushed to complete the various events and tasks that are tied to Star Paths in Disney Dreamlight Valley, but I’m thinking I may struggle to unlock everything available in Disney Speedstorm. For one, there is WAY more going on here that is tied to specific timelines, which means your time will be split between competitive multiplayer, regulated multiplayer, the Season Tour, and more. There is a lot going on.
There are 4 different classes of racers to explore in Disney Speedstorm, and all of them feel really unique. On top of that, each character has a unique skill they can unlock when they reach the second of 5 character stars. These unique abilities keep similar classes of characters still feel unique and different.
It’s a pretty good system and players will quickly decide which characters they prefer. During about 12 hours of play, and using the base founders pack, I have been able to unlock Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Sully, and Mike. This is only a fraction of the available racers that can be unlocked, including Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swan, Mogli, and more. Right now, there doesn’t seem to be an over-emphasis of getting better founders back to unlock better things, but when the microtransaction shop opens up in a few months, that could change.
On top of all the characters and classes, there are only a handful of tracks to currently explore, with a brand new track coming with each new season tour (every 6-8 weeks). Right now you can explore the world of Hercules, Mickey Mouse, Steamboat Willy (style, not theme), Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters Inc., and more. Each course has 4 different routes that can be mapped out, and even within those routes, there are tons of shortcuts and areas to discover. While I find Mario Kart is very linear with 1 or 2 hidden paths per level, each track in Speedstorm feels like it’s oozing with potential, and each lap feels different, even when trudging through the same areas.
I will need more time with Disney Speedstorm before I can really say how worth it, it is. But from my first dozen hours, I can say I’m pretty dang impressed.