A highly detailed and graphically lush go-kart simulation for PocketPC 2002, MSRWK will probably make racing sim fans very happy, but isn’t quite so attractive for others.
The game features 15 tracks, 3 different modes of gameplay–Training, Time Trial, and Championship–and a variable level of difficulty based on the player’s performance. You can also customize your driver, and keep multiple player profiles, though you don’t get much choice in which track you race on or the exact difficulty level.
Registration is a pain. You download the program from a two-times-only link, install it, and it generates an email in your PPC’s inbox that you have to send to Inverse to get an unlock code–even though you already have your registration code. If you don’t sync your email with your desktop, you must manually retype the email and send it. Then take the unlock code emailed to you, input that along with your registration code, and finally you’re done.
The game is played in a landscape format. While this has advantages, it isn’t possible to switch to a portrait style if that’s what you prefer, though you can set the display to be right or left handed. Controls are, by default, screen left handed, Button 1 to accelerate and the directional pad to turn left, right, and brake/reverse. Button 2 changes views between first-person and third, and Button 3 provides a rear view. While the controls can be mapped to other configurations, the game’s options reset to defaults every time you open the game, requiring you to reapply your control layout and sound settings. Unfortunate, particularly given the uncomfortable default layout.
The ingame graphics are very pretty. Inverse has produced a very nice
graphics engine for the game that still runs perfectly smoothly. The audio sounds good even out of the internal speaker. Gameplay is geared primarily towards realism rather than arcade-style action. The tracks are real tracks, the karts behave realistically, and even the sounds are authentic. Engine, track time, country, and other performance details play a major role in gameplay. This is a huge boon if that’s what you want, but I’m afraid this drastically increases the learning curve for players who don’t know much about go-karts. There isn’t even a simple arcade mode that lets you escape the complexity and just play.
In the end, MSRWK2002 isn’t right for everyone. The amount of detail may thrill some people, and leave others cold. It’s not a ‘pick-up and play’ game, and it doesn’t have the arcade-like simplicity that some may want in a racing game. If you’re looking for an authentic go kart simulation for your PocketPC, you’re in luck. Otherwise, you’ll likely find more appealing options elsewhere.
Doesn’t save options
Steep learning curve
Download a free trial or purchase at Handango for $19.99.