Chocobo GP succeeds in bottling the universes of Mario Kart and Final Fantasy on Nintendo Switch. A road trip for the Square Enix game?
On Nintendo Switch, family games are legion and many are trying to establish themselves on the console as the new title of atmosphere for evenings with friends or family. But it is the proprietary studio that dominates, with franchises such as Zelda, Pokemon or Mario Kart. However, Square Enix has the ambition to dethrone the latter with its new game from the franchise. Final Fantasy.
Chocobo GP, it is the worthy successor of Chocobo Racing, a car racing game playable in multiplayer or single player mode. As with its counterpart Mario Kart, Chocobo GP gives you the choice between several characters, equipment and objects to overcome all the circuits. However, does the game succeed in its departure on Nintendo Switch? Answer in this test Chocobo GP.
I discover Chocobo GP on Nintendo Switch
A bold mix?
With its unusual promise of mixing the worlds of car racing with that of Final Fantasy, Square Enix relies on audacity, but does not go into unknown territory. In effect, Chocobo GP comes more than 20 years after the first release of Chocobo Racing on Playstation. Later carried on other supports, the success was however never as important as that of Mario KartNintendo’s in-house franchise, still popular today.
For this reason, it is very difficult for us not to refer to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe when we study the gameplay of Chocobo GP. First of all, know that you will find in the game several modes: a single player mode guided by a story, a local multiplayer mode and an online championship, among other gameplay possibilities. Of all the modes, it is the first that is the most accessible.
In its solo mode, Square Enix integrates a pleasant narrative aspect even if it is ultimately rather superficial. It allows you to link the different circuits together and get to know each driver, while enjoying a connectionless mode of play. You will thus find many well-known faces such as Chocobo (obviously), Gilgamesh, Cid or even Irma from previous games. Chocobo.
In addition to its entertaining aspect, the single player mode has a very practical advantage: the more you advance, the more you unlock players and equipment to use in multiplayer. It is only once you successfully complete the campaign that you will have access to all the unlockable items in the game. Square Enix imposes an additional challenge on you, you will have to complete the whole story twice: once in easy mode and once in master mode. As saying that Chocobo GP does not do it in half measures.
The good part to chance
That said, even with the easy mode, it was sometimes difficult to overcome certain objectives, which do not necessarily require to be first but rather to beat a certain opponent. This is partly due to the fact that Chocobo GPunlike Mario Kartrelies much more on luck than on the player’s true piloting skills.
In question, the objects that are called magiciths, but especially the powers related to the characters. Indeed, each playable character has its own statistics, as in Mario Kart, but also has bonus powers that can be used independently of items. These take different forms and can help your opponents as well as your character.
We think for example of speed rings or teleportation portals, which can benefit everyone on the circuit. For the little experiment, we restarted the same race several times in a row, with the same character and the same equipment. Results: we finished in variable places ranging from pole position to the middle of the pack.
Between elbow grease and motor oil
This is also due to the fact that getting to grips with the gameplay requires a little getting used to at first. If on the whole the controls are pleasant and faithful, the skids are less fluid and controllable than those of Mario Kart. It’s harder to aim for a certain point in skidding than in Nintendo’s game. But as it’s a matter of habit, a short one-hour session was enough to get us into the swing of things.
We nevertheless regret the lack of personalization of the characters and especially of their equipment. In terms of vehicles, you can simply choose between three models (if you have unlocked them all) per player, and you cannot modify the equipment on a case-by-case basis. But the general experience of this story mode of Chocobo GP remains a pleasant adventure, which immerses us in a colorful and almost childish universe as the stakes are minimal.
The circuits are quite simplistic and never very long, but above all there are not a ton of them. Count three at most, to finish the entire adventure. The offline life is therefore rather limited. Despite everything, the characters and the dialogues are written well enough to avoid getting bored like in front of a children’s cartoon and the cutscenes are mastered.
The environment is rather pleasant, even in the race. In terms of graphics, Chocobo GP is more than up to what we can hope for on Nintendo Switch to date, with pretty colors, completely correct proportions and a fluidity that has never made us doubt the direction to take.
Multiplayer that stands out, but still lackluster
As for the online mode, we were also pleasantly surprised by the construction of it. It is indeed much more advanced than that of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It brings a real competitive challenge to this watered-down Mario-Like, by offering an eliminatory championship over 4 rounds. In total, 64 players compete on several circuits (and not in the same race) and the first 4 players are each time selected for the next round.
A mode that requires a certain helping hand since the real opponents are even more complicated to beat than the Square Enix AIs. Once victory is within reach, it is all the more satisfying. Unfortunately, if you don’t have an active Nintendo Switch Online membership, don’t expect to find the same experience locally.
Indeed, do not expect to be able to make Chocobo GP your new go-to for nights out with friends or family, local multiplayer only supports two players at a time. A real disappointment for a game of this genre which could have been the ideal companion for more festive evenings. This therefore greatly limits the scope of the game for anyone who does not play online.
I discover Chocobo GP on Nintendo Switch