Chocobo Racing is much like Mario Kart, only using characters from Square games instead of Mario characters. The main characters of the game are the various creatures of Square games, as opposed to the human characters (although you can unlock some of them by beating story mode). There are various modes that you would expect a racing game like Mario Kart to have, such as Time Trial, Versus, and Grand Prix, but it also has Story Mode (only one player can play Story Mode).
In Story Mode, you start out as Chocobo, obviously, and must race from track to track defeating various opponents to progress on your journey. After you beat each opponent, they join you and you have the option of using any of them in the next races instead of Chocobo. Like Mario Kart, you can attack others and others will attack you while you race. Instead of items, though, you use magic spells that you can power up by collecting up to three of one type of magic you’ll find on the track. In addition to the magic spells such as lightning, ice, and fire, each character also has its own special ability that it can use whenever its power meter fills up. Some skills let you speed up for a set amount of time, or attack an opponent.
The game was a lot of fun to play, being a big fan of Squaresoft games and knowing who all of the characters were and where they came from (mainly Final Fantasy games). The eight main characters are Chocobo, Moogle, Golem, Goblin, Black Mage, White Mage, Chubby Chocobo, and Bahamut. The ten unlockable characters give the player much more choice of who they want to play as than Mario Kart does, but the fact that this game is only two players keeps it behind Mario Kart as far as enjoyment goes.
The controls are really easy to get used to, much like Mario Kart, with the player only having to master a few buttons (speed up, brake, use magic, and move). The player should be able to master them fairly quickly. Each of the characters have different statistics that fit to each player’s style of racing. For example. Chubby Chocobo is slow, but has an excellent turning ability, while the goblin is fast but has poor turning ability.
The replay value is probably the best point of the game. Once you beat Story Mode, you can play it over and over to unlock a new character each time, and even a new race course (up to ten unlockable characters and one new race course). After you are finished with the story mode, you can play the Grand Prix mode, Versus Mode, or Time Trial. In the Grand Prix you compete against other racers in a series of four courses (you can choose the courses or have them randomly picked) and each time you come in first place on a course you get a crown for that course. After you have gotten enough crowns for getting first place, you will unlock another difficulty for Grand Prix Mode. There are three difficulties and Mirror Mode, where the courses are…mirrored…to be unlocked.
Overall, this is a good racing game for fans of Squaresoft or fans of Mario Kart-type games, but if you are looking for a four-player game to play with your friends, this is unfortunately not the game for you. If, however, you enjoy racing games and even like to play them alone sometimes (or don’t have any friends), Chocobo Racing has a lot more to keep you busy.