Chocobo GP is the direct sequel to Chocobo Racing from 1999 and delivers the same fun racing experience as its predecessor.
The game is available in a digital-only format on the Nintendo Switch. What is unique for this console game is there is a Lite version available for free in addition to the fuller paid for game. This review is only of the full paid game.
Chocobo GP is a kart racing game for fans of the Final Fantasy franchise with tracks taken straight from the games. The game centres around Chocobo and friends and as you would expect from a kart racing game features a lot of unlocks. Unfortunately, some of these are contained within a microtransaction based store. Call me old fashioned but any game that costs as much as Chocobo GP really should not have microtransactions. Combine this with the season pass requirement to access things like the online mode and felt a little ‘cash-grab’ and unsettling when you know how many children will be drawn into the bright colours and cartoony visuals.
Speaking of the visuals, they’re great. Really fun, bright, and cartoony. Just what you want from this sort of fun and casual kart racer. What sets Chocobo GP apart from most similar kart racers, however, is the story mode. Story mode in Chocobo GP is a fun trip through the Final Fantasy landscape and fans of the franchise will enjoy the little cutscenes that break up the racing. If you’re not overly familiar however, these can get a little tedious. While the tracks start very basic (and in some instances are very short) they do get a lot better and more complex as the mode progresses.
Other modes are what you’d expect – quick races, time trials, custom modes all offering alternative gameplay options. What I do particularly love though is that the game supports two-player split screen, so this game is a perfect ‘party game’ for those wanting some variety from other, popular, kart-based racing games on Switch.
There is then the online mode – this is quite impressive with a large-scale 64 player staggered GP. However, it’s only available with the season pass so I didn’t get to experience this.
The game plays exactly as you would expect it to. There’s a three second timer before a race begins that will allow you to boost as you’d expect. You can drift, gaining additional boosts as you do so. On the track you’ll face obstacles and boost pads that keep things interesting. The best part, by far, is the array of abilities that can help you or hinder your opponents. The system is interesting, you can stack magic types providing additional boosts to the abilities. From ghost attacks to a teleporter that leaps you forward (or pulls you back if it’s dropped by an opponent). This variety does keep things fun.
For the most part Chocobo GP doesn’t reinvent the wheel. In fact, any kart racer will give you the same, if not better an experience. However, Chocobo GP does give you some interesting mechanics with the racers themselves. Throughout the race you can fill a bar that will trigger a special ability once filled.
Overall, Chocobo GP has a lot to offer for an alternative to such kart-based staples like Mario Kart. It’s vibrant, offers a good experience with slight variations on the genre’s norms. What lets it down, however, is the price point and reliance on microtransactions/season passes to experience the full game. If you’re a die-hard Final Fantasy fan then I recommend it, for everyone else there’s Mario Kart.