Zachary Berry
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The 6 Most Bizarre “Mario Kart” Rip-Offs

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In a sea of video games that borrow heavily from the signature "Mario Kart" style, these six stand out as the strangest

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then a lot of games are trying to flatter Mario Kart
Photo: Anuman Interactive

The Mario Kart series of racing games is considered to be one of the most iconic and popular video game franchises of all time. The first Mario Kart game, Super Mario Kart, made its debut back in 1992, and Nintendo has been adding titles to the franchise ever since.

With all that success comes imitators, and Mario Kart has perhaps more copycats than nearly any other video game series. Some of these Mario Kart copies are not all that surprising to see, with karting games from Mario’s rivals like Sonic Drift and Crash Team Racing.

However, there are several rather bizarre racing games which focus on franchises that gamers may not have expected to see in this genre. While there are a seemingly infinite number of Mario Kart rip-offs, these six may be the strangest of them all.


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Angry Birds Go!

In many ways, Angry Birds helped “launch” the modern mobile game industry, pun entirely intended. Still, catapulting avian animals at fortresses and pigs can only be so engaging before it ultimately becomes tedious.

To keep things fresh, Rovio Entertainment teamed up with Exient Entertainment to release Angry Birds Go! This mobile game took the agitated birds out of the catapult and placed them behind the wheel of makeshift go-karts, along with their swine rivals.

Needless to say, it never became as popular as the original Angry Birds entry. Still, it’s one way to pass the time while on a long bus ride or flight.

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Muppet RaceMania

The Muppets are famous for their wacky hi-jinks and sly sense of humor. The majority of those antics are seen from the waist up, seeing as how the Muppets are, well, puppets.

2000’s Muppet RaceMania took the friendly, felt-clad cast of The Muppets and placed them in various vehicles. There’s no lack of variety in this game, as players can choose from up to 25 Muppets to race as, including franchise favorites like Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Gonzo.

There were also 34 tracks to race on, based on locations from the various Muppets-based movies and shows. Alas, the controls for these karts were clumsier than the delivery of Fozzie’s jokes.

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Photo: Bandai

Digimon Racing

Digimon set itself up to be a rival for the Pokemon franchise of games during the early 2000s. While Pokemon is still going strong, Digimon has lost quite a lot of its steam since its initial introduction.

To widen its own appeal, Digimon experimented with a number of different video game offerings during this decline. One such option it pursued was Digimon Racing, a traditional karting game.

Players could start out with any of the Digimon that starred in the franchise’s original series. However, with hard work and determination, they could unlock Digimon from the far less popular sequel series, no doubt a true reward worth playing the game for.

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Photo: Activision

Shrek Smash n’ Crash Racing

At this point, the internet has diluted Shrek into one big meme. When Shrek was first released, however, it was a massive cinematic phenomenon.

With that popularity came a series of video games, and one of those video games just so happened to be Shrek Smash n’ Crash Racing. In this karting title, Shrek and his friends pilot a myriad of “vehicles,” ranging from a swamp monster to a fire-breathing dragon.

You may be wishing you could race as other characters from the DreamWorks library of films. Worry not, as DreamWorks has you covered with two additional racing games: DreamWorks Super Star Kartz and Madagascar Kartz (which probably should have been named MadagasKarts).

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Photo: Lucasfilm

Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing

A Star Wars racing game should be a no-brainer. The Star Wars universe is filled with tons of iconic vehicles, and the Pod-Racing video games were critical and commercial hits when they were released.

That’s what makes Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing all the more perplexing. Instead of being able to race across space as your favorite Star Wars characters like Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, you can pretty much only choose from the cast of The Phantom Menace.

What’s more, these characters are designed with goofy, disproportionately large heads. Needless to say, this game puts the “bad” in “Bombad,” whatever than means.

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Garfield Kart

If Garfield has one defining character trait, it would be that he is lazy. The last thing you’d expect him to do is get behind the wheel of a high-speed go-kart.

With that said, Garfield Kart is a game that somehow exists. As the name implies, it is a racing game starring the iconic fat cat from the weekly comic strip bearing his name.

Garfield isn’t the only one joining in on the race. Players can also select from his owner Jon, his canine housemate Odie, and a bunch of other Garfield characters that nobody would recognize or care about.

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Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to insane Mario Kart rip-offs. If you know of any oother crazy karting games that you would like to inform the world about, feel free to mention them in the comments below.

  • Zachary Berry

    Zachary Berry currently resides in the Dayton, Ohio area. However, he enjoys traveling from place to place, as he was born in Oklahoma City and has also lived in Albuquerque and Orlando (such is the life of a military brat). Zachary graduated from Ohio University with a major in Strategic Communication, which is fancy talk for advertising and public relations. Beginning his career at The News Wheel as a lowly intern, he was able to climb his way to the top, eventually claiming his place within the last cubicle on the left. Other jobs that Zachary has held include driving around a safari truck at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When he’s not putting his nose to the grindstone, Zachary enjoys watching and critiquing movies and television. See more articles by Zachary.