Poppy Kart is a relatively new racing game for Windows Phone 8 that takes a bit of a pixelated approach to things. The story line has Froggy running away from home and her dad has challenged you to find her by racing your way through the various levels of game play.
Poppy Kart has a “Mario Kart” feel to things and the pixelated graphics gives the game a retro appearance. Storyline aside, the races can be rather challenging and a fun way to pass the time with. All things considered, Poppy Kart is not a bad gaming option to consider for Windows Phone 8.
When you first launch Poppy Kart, you will be presented with a series of storyboards explaining the game’s storyline. You can advance through these screens to get to game play quicker.
The main menus for Poppy Kart has options to log into your Facebook account, jump into game play, and visit the game’s store. You can access the game’s settings from the main menu as well. Settings cover display options, control options and sound/music levels.
Jumping into game play your first task is to select your gaming control style. Poppy Kart has three styles of on-screen controls or you can opt to use the Windows Phone tilt sensors to steer your cart around the racetrack.
Poppy Kart has two gaming difficulties, progressive and expert. Progressive starts out on the easy side and slowly becomes more challenging. Expert starts out on the difficult side and does not waver.
The game includes eight different players that progressively become unlocked as you advance through the game. You’ll start out racing Poppy but you also have Norton the elephant, Crapo the frog and others to race along the way.
Poppy Kart has seven racetracks to conquer with the free version (additional tracks can be unlocked through a $1.99 in-app purchase). From the track selection screen, you can also replay the intro scenes, change your Kart racer and visit the game’s store where you can unlock the full game and buy totems that will go towards finding Froggy and advance through the racing levels.
Game play begins with you and your opponents at the starting gate for the race. Your racing data will be displayed in the upper left corner of the screen (position, lap number, and items collected). Your racing time will be displayed in the upper right corner of the game screen.
Steering controls will be dependent on the style you choose in the game’s settings. You also have to buttons in the lower right side of the screen to break and activate your special power (used to take out opponents). Acceleration is automatic by default or you can add an accelerator button to the gaming screen and handle things manually.
As you race, you can collect totems and tokens that appear randomly on the racetrack. You’ll need to finish no lower than fourth place in the race and collect a predetermined number of totems and tokens to advance to the next racetrack.
The pixelated graphics teeter on giving the game a childlike appearance but game play tells a different story. The race tracks were laid out in a mildly challenging fashion and your competition can get down right nasty at times. Don't be surprised if a frog race his kart up next to yours and slams you into a barricade. Luckily, you can always return the favor.
I have to admit the more I played Poppy Kart, the more the game grew on me. Graphics are nice and the pixilation gives Poppy Kart a classic or retro feel.
Game play is challenging enough to keep things interesting and I think the key to success with Poppy Kart is finding which set of controls works the best. I was not a big fan of the tilt steering and found placing the steering controls in the left/right sides of the screen worked the best (your views may differ).
There is a Windows 8 version of Poppy Kart (free with in-app purchases) available and you can use your Windows Phone 8 device as your gaming controller. You’ll need to install Poppy Kart on your Windows Phone and tap the “poppystick” link on the game’s main menu to connect your Windows Phone to your Windows 8 device via Wi-Fi.
If you need a break from the intense graphics and high speed action of racing games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, take Poppy Kart out for a spin. I’m not sure it can hold up to lengthy gaming sessions but for short bits of time, it is a nice option to pass the time with.
Poppy Kart is a free, ad-support game that is available for Windows Phone 8. Again, the free game is limited to seven races and a $1.99 in-app purchase will unlock additional races and remove the ads.