Last week, Gameloft launched Disney Speedstorm, a multiplatform kart racer featuring a wide array of beloved Disney characters, such as Mickey Mouse, Belle, and Jack Sparrow. The game, initially launched via paid early access, is free-to-play, but its grind and lack of tracks at launch may put off non-Disney adults.
The game is similar to Nintendo’s popular Mario Kart, where you drive various Disney characters around colorful tracks based on different movies, collect power-ups, and race against opponents. The game’s racing action is fantastic, with karts feeling responsive and fast, race tracks being fun to drive through and cool to look at, and power-ups being exciting to use.
The game also features various roles that offer different bonuses and advantages, making the action on the track more exciting and setting it apart from Mario Kart. However, the game only has about nine courses, some of which recycle bits from other tracks or flip the direction you take. After a few hours of playing, you’ll have raced multiple times on every course. This is a shame, considering Disney has so many popular films to rip courses from.
Furthermore, the game’s free-to-play grind may make it challenging for players who want to unlock everything, complete every challenge, and finish the season pass. While leveling up racers, getting them new abilities, and unlocking fresh cosmetic items for each of them sounds great, it can feel overwhelming and grindy, with players having to race on the same courses over and over again.
If you’re a big Disney lover, you might be able to look past these flaws. However, for others, the game’s awesome kart racing likely won’t be enough to distract from its lack of tracks and endless grind. Overall, Disney Speedstorm is a fun but flawed kart racer that may become more appealing to non-Disney adults after Gameloft adds more content.
Despite its flaws, the launch of Disney Speedstorm still has significant implications for the games industry. For starters, the game’s release demonstrates the continued popularity of kart racing games and the enduring appeal of iconic brands like Disney. It also highlights the ongoing trend of free-to-play games that rely on in-game purchases to drive revenue. While the grindy nature of Speedstorm‘s progression system may deter some players, it’s a tried-and-true monetization method that has proven successful for many games.
Additionally, the multiplatform release of Disney Speedstorm showcases the increasing importance of cross-play functionality. By allowing players on different platforms to race against each other, the game is able to reach a wider audience and promote a more inclusive gaming community. This trend has been gaining momentum in recent years, with games like Fortnite and Rocket League leading the way in cross-platform play.
The launch of Disney Speedstorm also reinforces the importance of ongoing content updates for live-service games. With a limited number of tracks at launch, the game’s developers will need to continually release new content in order to keep players engaged and invested in the game. This is a model that has been successful for many games, particularly in the mobile space, and it’s likely that we’ll continue to see more games adopt this approach in the future.
While Disney Speedstorm may not be perfect, its launch is indicative of several larger trends in the games industry. As gaming continues to evolve and mature as a medium, we can expect to see more games that blend classic gameplay mechanics with beloved brands, innovative monetization models, and ongoing content updates to keep players engaged and entertained.
Despite its flaws and limitations, Disney Speedstorm has the potential to be a successful addition to the games industry. The game’s release highlights the continued popularity of kart racing games, especially those that are accessible and easy to pick up and play. Speedstorm‘s use of well-known and beloved Disney characters is also a significant factor in its appeal, particularly for younger audiences who are likely to be familiar with the characters.
However, the game’s free-to-play model and heavy emphasis on grinding for upgrades and currency may prove to be a barrier for some players. The pay-to-win aspect of free-to-play games is a controversial issue in the industry, with some players feeling frustrated and disadvantaged by the need to spend money to progress quickly. On the other hand, the model is also a proven source of revenue for game developers and publishers, allowing them to continue to support and update the game over time.
Disney Speedstorm is an enjoyable and engaging game that provides a fun and colorful racing experience. Its use of Disney characters is a major draw, but the lack of tracks and heavy grind may deter some players. As the game continues to develop and add more content, it will be interesting to see how it fares in the competitive and rapidly evolving games industry.