Square Enix first tried their hand at the kart racing genre back in 1999. The game they came out with was the Final Fantasy-themed “Chocobo Racing” for the original PlayStation console. During that time, there was nothing else like it that came from the company. That is until two decades later when the gaming juggernaut seems to want to try contending with the best of the best this time. With their newest installment of the kart racing game 20 years earlier, Square Enix released Chocobo GP. Many people saw it as Square Enix trying to redeem themselves from the shameful iteration they came up with, all while trying to compete with the biggest names of the kart racing genre today.
Here, we learn what Chocobo GP is, how it plays out, and how it compares to the games we all know and love today.
Chocobo GP for the Nintendo Switch
Chocobo GP is essentially the spiritual successor of Chocobo Racing, which was from the PS1. In the eyes of many critics and fans alike, Chocobo GP is yet another example of the title’s undeniable quirkiness and charm, even if it does seem quite lackluster compared to similar titles. Chocobo GP joins a long list of racing games for the Nintendo Switch console.
What Type of Game Is It?
Players pick from a roster and compete with either other real players or computer-piloted opponents in a race to the finish line. While on the track, racers can pick up items that contain special stones that give characters the ability to cast spells. These spells increase in potency the more stones you collect. Additionally, every character in the roster has an innate ability to boost their utility and performance in races.
Of course, all the usual fixtures of any kart racing game are present as well, such as boost panels, drift boosts, and ramps, among others.
Square Enix released Chocobo GP to the public on the 10th of March 2022. The game is available on the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch OLED. The kart race also features additional characters from the original Final Fantasy titles, including the cute Chocobo and even Ifrit across multiple iterations between the titles.
Chocobo GP Lite Version
It is worth noting that Square Enix will be releasing a free-to-play version of the game aptly called Chocobo GP Lite.
Square Enix notes that the Lite also has single and multiplayer modes available. Players can also go through the Prologue of the story mode. Lite is also able to join lobbies created by hosts who have the full game. Additionally, both Lite and Chocobo GP players can participate in a 64-player battle royale-style online tournament.
Lastly, should you be able to purchase the full version of Chocobo GP, you will be able to transfer over your save file from the Lite version, including any items and currency you may have accumulated through your playthroughs.
Chocobo GP Game Review
What is it like to play Chocobo GP on the Nintendo Switch? Is it worth getting? Let’s find out!
As established, Chocobo GP is a racing game for the Nintendo Switch. The game is a part of the Chocobo series and is introduced as a successor to Chocobo Racing. The game features many returning characters from the Chocobo and Final Fantasy series as well as tracks inspired by many levels in both titles.
Cutting to the chase, the gameplay experience that Chocobo GP offers is largely mirrored by Mario Kart, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many of the features are translated well to fit the Final Fantasy vibe with many quirks and twists introduced in the gameplay and the characters themselves to make a unique trademark that features a lot of the charm of the derivative titles.
Chocobo GP may feature cute character designs and vibrant graphics reminiscent of many games for children, but the game still offers plenty of challenges for more seasoned players. Races often get chaotic while the tracks themselves are filled with traps and curves to keep you on your toes.
Similar to many games in the genre, Chocobo GP bears many similarities to Mario Kart. Cutely designed characters speed around on any given track. Said characters can obtain tools to help them get to first place. The speeding, breaking, and drift mechanics are smooth as well. Additionally, it isn’t hard to grasp the game’s more complex moves, like getting a boost by drifting a curve and doing a pose in mid-air.
Chocobo GP is certainly a good game to play with a circle of friends. Races can include up to eight players, and participants can either play via online multiplayer or locally via split-screen. According to the official page of Nintendo, local multiplayer can be played in tabletop, handheld, and TV modes.
While the perks of playing with friends online are apparent, this only goes for those who have purchased the full version of the game. Make no mistake, Lite players are still able to participate in co-op games; however, they can only do so after joining someone who has the full version.
Chocobo GP features a Story mode that follows the titular character’s racing adventures. Chocobo interacts with various characters from the franchise and races them. There is also a Series Races mode that can be played locally or online. In addition, there is also a Time Attack mode available. In this mode, players can race against ghosts and try to beat the time. Then, the Custom Races mode allows players to edit rules and scenarios for the race.
Also, the online Chocobo GP Mode lets 64 players duke it out for points. These points help players to advance their Season Pass levels.
In Chocobo GP, not only can players race as the titular character. The game features a multitude of characters from the Final Fantasy franchise. These include monsters, summons, and side characters. These characters have their stats as well, which allows players to find a character that fits their playstyle. Lastly, the racers in the game have their specific ability that charges over time.
Here are the racers in Chocobo GP:
- Camilla’s Pa
- Racing Hero X
- Mecha Chocobo
Season Pass Characters
Aside from regular characters, there are also special unlockable characters. These racers can be attained via the Season Pass store or by progressing through the said pass. These racers are fan-favorite heroes who headlined their own specific Final Fantasy game.
The game’s power-ups go well beyond the usual projectiles as seen in other cart racing games. Much to the nature of Final Fantasy, some power-ups showcase different offensive and defensive spells. These spells are the ones that a player has access to when playing a Final Fantasy game. Other power-ups feature a very famous Final Fantasy summon and portals that may help or hinder you from winning.
Having a very light-hearted and fun game needs a slew of fun characters. Chocobo GP delivers on that aspect, though the humor can be formulaic or cliche at times. Players will get to know fun characters. This is true for characters with serious personalities from other FF games having a more cheerful vibe to them.
Chocobo GP vs Similar Games
There have been a lot of cart racing games since the release of Chocobo Racing. Back then, the game may have been more unique, but now it has a lot of peers. Now, we’re taking a look at these competitors to know how Chocobo Gp stacks up.
Mario Kart features the lovable cast of Nintendo stars, such as Mario, Luigi, and Donkey Kong. This game is similar to Chocobo GP, and it features cart racing with different characters having their stats. Also, both games make use of power-ups that can help or hinder a player from winning. However, while both games share a wacky format when it comes to the track design, their respective art styles shine through.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
Nitro-Fueled is a remake of the original CTR game. However, instead of a remaster, the game was built from scratch. This allows the colorful cast of characters to shine on current and next-gen consoles. Albeit being from the same sub-genre, the execution of Nitor-Fueled and Chocobo GP has some differences. For one, Chocobo GP resembles the gameplay of Mario Kart while CTR games borrow from Diddy Kong Racing. Also, much like Mario Kart games, the track designs follow the aesthetic of their respective universes.
Team Sonic Racing
Team Sonic Racing is another cart racer that features a much-beloved gaming icon, Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog. In Team Sonic Racing, not only do racers race against each other but they also compete as teams of three. Chocobo GP borrows a few elements with how teammates can share power-ups in certain modes.
Is Chocobo GP Worth Buying on Switch?
Chocobo GP is a serviceable cart racer, albeit far from perfect. The story mode is not a homerun, and microtransactions are making the game a bit too play to win. However, the gameplay can be commended for being fun, but some tracks are more of a hassle rather than being fun. Chocobo GP has a free lite version which you can try out if you’re undecided about getting the game. However, the game can only be worth it if you’re a fan of the Final Fantasy franchise.