DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing Review - Screenshot 1 of 6
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

Given that he’s an internet icon these days and the star of countless memes, it’s a bit of a surprise that it’s taken this long – 12 full years, in fact – to find a way to get Shrek into another video game. The last title to feature the onion-layered ogre was DreamWorks Super Star Kartz, released by Activision in 2011 for the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, and 3DS. It’s somewhat fitting, then, that he would return in another DreamWorks karting game, and equally fitting that it too feels two generations old.

DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing is the latest offering from Bamtang Games, which was previously responsible for the Nickelodeon Kart Racers trilogy (which started weak on Switch, got better with the second game then lost its way again with the final entry). Sadly, while this DreamWorks-themed racer has a number of decent ideas, the execution is as sloppy as a Bergin eating a Troll.

DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing Review - Screenshot 2 of 6
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

The roster is decent, with 20 characters to choose from, eight of which are available from the start. Most big DreamWorks franchises are in there, and while Shrek is represented the most with six racers (Shrek, Donkey, Fiona, Puss in Boots, Lord Farquaad, and Kitty Softpaws), there’s still representation in there from the likes of The Boss Baby, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Trolls and even Megamind.

Not every DreamWorks production is in there, likely either due to licensing reasons or just a general lack of popularity, so if you’re a fan of The Croods, Rise of the Guardians, Antz, Monsters vs Aliens, Over the Hedge, and the like, you’re going to be disappointed. And if you were a fan of The Road to El Dorado, you’re probably too old to be wasting precious gaming time with this sort of guff anyway.

There are some positives here. There’s clearly been some effort made to make this an authentic DreamWorks karting game, rather than a generic racer that’s just had the lion from Madagascar and the annoying kid from How to Train Your Dragon dumped into it.

DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing Review - Screenshot 3 of 6
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Docked)

The tracks cover a bunch of locations from the movies, meaning Shrek fans get to race through Far Far Away and Shrek’s Swamp while Trolls is represented by Pop Village and Bergen Town. From the track set inside the Baby Corp building to the one in the New York City Zoo, we appreciate the effort that’s been made here.

It’s just a shame that everything that takes place in these locations detracts from that effort, not least the voice acting which features some of the worst soundalikes we’ve heard in a game. Naturally, we weren’t expecting the likes of Mike Myers, Jack Black, and Ben Stiller to lend their voices here, but given you could throw a stone on TikTok without even looking and hit 30 people doing Shrek impressions, it’s almost inspiring how this game managed to find someone who sounds so awful (and Shrek is the worst of a generally bad bunch).

DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing Review - Screenshot 4 of 6
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

What's even more disappointing is that the game does actually do a clever thing with the dialogue, in that each racer has a set of character-specific lines that they can utter when they pass someone. So when Kung Fu Panda bumps into Alex from Madagascar, he'll say "Look out, Alex." It's a nice touch, it's just a shame that he sounds less like Jack Black and more like Jack Black's cousin. Not the one that sounds like him, the other one.

While the voice acting can at least be turned off, the same can’t be said for the course design, most notably the annoying dirt patches that are found scattered in some of them – not just off the track, but sometimes on it. The game’s drifting feels a little on the awkward side as it is, but when you drift over one of these dirt patches the drift is killed instantly (as opposed to most karting games where the drift continues but you slow down massively).

Not only does this remove the speed boost you’ve been charging up – which would be frustrating but very much a ‘git gud’ situation – but because drifting often involves holding the Control Stick in the opposite direction it also frequently results in you wildly veering off the track the second you hit the dirt. Add to this the fact that the game looks blurry and hard to see at the best of times, and that these dirt patches can appear without much warning as a result, and it can be hugely annoying.

DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing Review - Screenshot 5 of 6
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

The power-ups are also pretty underwhelming. Although there’s a Help screen on the main menu which explains all 16 of them, even after a few hours of play we kept forgetting what they did because they’re so unremarkable. It’s not like you don’t get much of a chance to use them – the severe rubber-banding makes sure you can never really get too far ahead of the pack so you’re always in amongst the ‘action’ – they’re just too dull for any of them to lodge in your brain as ones to look out for.

Above all else, the thing is just clunky beyond belief. Even on the fastest of four speed settings, the game can feel painfully slow when you aren’t hitting boosts, and while the frame rate attempts to hit 30 frames per second, there’s a real jankiness to things that means it’s rarely consistent. We also occasionally found annoying ‘broken’ bits, such as a section where we hit a jump wrong and slowly floated down to the ground instead while our opponents raced off into the distance.

Ultimately, it’s difficult to recommend DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing to anyone but the most die-hard DreamWorks fan, or the most patient karting fan who’s willing to overlook all its shortcomings in return for some new tracks to race around. When there are numerous far better examples of karting games already on Switch, you’d need to be the sort of person who regularly listens to the Trolls soundtrack on Spotify to properly enjoy this one.

DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing Review - Screenshot 6 of 6
Captured on Nintendo Switch (Handheld/Undocked)

In a way, it’s unfortunate that the game features ‘All-Star’ in the title, because all that does is make us think about the Smash Mouth song synonymous with the first Shrek movie, and remind us of better times. This game, on the other hand, has us looking kind of dumb, with our finger and our thumb in the shape of an ‘L’ on our forehead.


Unless you're one of the biggest DreamWorks fans on the planet, you'll struggle to fall in love with DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing. Its attempts at authenticity and its numerous references are admirable, but it really lets itself down on the track with frustrating design choices, unstable performance, and a forgettable range of power-ups.