|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Webfoot||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Destineer||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 5, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
I don't know how much you're expecting from a kart racer, but if your answer is "not much," you couldn't be more accurate in the case of Homie Rollerz. Mario nailed it with the definitive version, which is literally a party on wheels and one that has inspired numerous imitations, none of which have come close to capturing the fun of Mario Kart.
It's kind of unfortunate that kart racing has been defined as a sub-genre unto itself. As such, there is no negative stigma associated with developers ripping off the format. It's a convenient concept, one that accommodates a group of characters, making it perfect to exploit popular entities from a variety of sources such as cartoons, movies, comic books, figurines, and in the case of Homie Rollerz, collectible characters from an oversized bubble gum dispenser.
Before I give you a little background on the Homie Rollerz franchise, allow me to give you what you came here for: the lowdown on this lowrider. It's just downright lousy. It looks bad, it plays bad, and I think it even smells bad, but that just might be the chili pepper talking. And trust me; there is a talking chili pepper in this game. You see, Homie Rollerz started out as collectible figures that you could purchase in those plastic egg dispensing machines at the entrance of supermarkets. They have their own popular characters and culture, and that's another story in itself.
The Rollerz are not without controversy, as they have been accused of glorifying thug life and exploiting Hispanic stereotypes. The characters include a pimp, hooker, gang member, biker, drug pusher, and El Chilote the talking pepper. Creator David Gonzales has received a lot of flack from law enforcement and leaders of the Hispanic community for this portrayal of life in the "barrio."
In an effort to counteract such negative press, Gonzales has released a line of religious figurines, but more importantly for the video game, he has decided to change the Homie Rollerz characters' in favor of a more positive message. That is likely to enrage fans of the Rollerz that enjoy them for their perceived irreverence. For instance, the ex-con gang member Big Loco is now a youth gang counselor. Now who's going to help you rob the liquor store?
The rules of the road are standard-issue kart racer for this game. Make a few character and vehicles choices and enter a race using whatever means available to beat your opponents. That would include taking shortcuts, employing the use of power-ups and weapons such as oil slicks and missiles, and taking advantage of vehicle upgrades to enhance your performance. Upgrades in this game include engine, exhaust, suspension, hydraulics, and of course paint. It seems that the only noticeable upgrades are cosmetic, because you can see them. So-called performance enhancing upgrades seem to have little effect at all. Regardless of what vehicle or character you play as, the other A.I. competitors will always be faster and more precise.