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Colorful, action-packed multiplayer racing games like Nintendo’s Mario Kart have hooked players of all ages—but can an NFT-inspired derivative pull in a new audience?

Delabs, the crypto gaming arm of South Korean game developer 4:33, has released a new preview version of its upcoming PC game Rumble Racing Star, a multiplayer racing title in which wild and wacky characters ride lawn mowers—very slowly.

Rumble Racing Star (RRS) leans into its inherently silly premise and offers players the chance to unlock a range of characters inspired by NFT collections like the Bored Ape Yacht Club, Pudgy Penguins, y00ts, and Goblintown.

In my early playtest of the game, I found the tutorial to be incredibly simple and straightforward. It’s arguably too easy, but a game that only involves the use of the arrow keys and ctrl and alt keys means that RRS could reasonably be enjoyed by little kids and casual adult players alike. 

The game’s menus and fonts feel like a mashup of Fortnite meets Fall Guys. While some might find the UI lacking in originality, its familiar feel might be appealing to some younger players. Overall, this game really feels like something I would’ve found addicting as a kid under the age of 14, but tire of much more quickly as an adult. 

While its menus are generic, RRS has unique moments in the matches themselves. It puts a spin on a standard Mario Kart-inspired racer by offering character abilities that can instantly change the tide of a match—like the Pudgy Penguin’s ability to freeze others on the map, or the Bored Ape’s ability to turn another character into a banana.

Some character abilities take a long time to charge, while others feel unavoidable and overpowered—like the inescapable ice blocks that clog the entire raceway and leave players helpless and frustrated. 

The outcome of a race can change in a second in RRS; I played multiple matches where I’d suddenly go from nearly last to first, and vice versa. Sometimes, those twists would be thanks to a successful attack where I threw an item at another player. Those moments feel great, and earned. But in general, my RRS matches felt largely like games of chance with little skill required. 

Also, the lawn mowers move very slowly. If you’re used to playing Mario Kart, it’ll feel like a 25cc race. But that doesn’t mean you’ll always win. There aren’t many ways to increase your speed in the game, so the races are usually close and more often decided by who can trip up and troll others the most, rather than relying on speed.

Rumble Racing Star is fun and quirky in this early preview stage, but it could stand to be more skill-based in design. The game maps also feel a little too simple right now, as I tested a few different maps but found virtually all of them to be little more than reskins of the same flat, short loop with very slight variations. 

That said, the simplicity and overall ease of this version does make Rumble Racing Star easy to pick up and play—but without a bit more depth, that formula may also quickly lead to boredom and less replayability. 

A Pudgy Penguin come to life in Rumble Racing Star. Image: Decrypt

RRS plans to use Ethereum sidechain network Polygon for its crypto elements. While the game’s crypto plans have not yet been finalized, a Delabs representative told Decrypt that RRS will use crypto to facilitate “a creator economy, decentralized governance, and interoperability.” Earlier this year, Delabs released membership NFTs called the Adventure Pass, which grant holders exclusive in-game items, NFT airdrops, a single-season battle pass with unlockable content, and other perks.

While RRS is leaning into potential crypto integrations, players won’t be able to experience the title as their specific NFT in 3D avatar form anytime soon. But other types of customization features are in the works.

“Our team is working on ways to integrate into our game the owners’ PFP NFTs, such as appearing on their profile picture, flags, license plates, kart decals, etc,” a Delabs representative said.

Rumble Racing Star will offer a closed best test in mid-August and an open beta for players this October, with a full launch scheduled for the end of 2023.

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