Cruise your way past the Arabian Desert in stylish flying carpets as you vie for the top place in this Aladdin-inspired racing game for the Wii.
Mario Kart clones have been hitting the market ever since the aforementioned game found widespread success among almost all video game enthusiasts. Aladdin Magic Racer is one of those games that hopes to emulate the example set about by Mario Kart, and many of the elements found in the latter has been faithfully reproduced in Magic Racer, albeit with a more distinctively Arabian-styled theme.
In the Wii Aladdin Magic Racer game, you select a rider from among a set of five to compete in flying carpet racing. If you ever saw the highly popular Disney film of the same name, you’ll be familiar with the concept. However, don’t be misled into thinking that all your favourite characters from the film is inside this game, because the only commonality Magic Racer has with the movie is that they both share the same title “Aladdin”. This game is not based on the film and is an original release on its own.
The racers you’ll be choosing from have different Arabian garbs and physical features to easily differentiate them from one another. They also come with their own names – Kali, Shivat, Siddartha, Tarek, and Faruk. Once you select a racer, you can choose the course you want to race in. There are eight tracks overall grouped into four categories: The City, The Oasis, Petra, and The Cave. The good thing is that all the tracks and racers are already unlocked to begin with, and a reverse mode wherein the tracks are flipped can also be used from the get go to add more variety.
Throughout the race, there are numerous Mario Kart-inspired powerups which you can use to take the advantage from the competition. From super speed boosts to weapons that can disrupt the view screen of opponents, these powerups can determine whether you come in first or last.
If you get tired of the main racing game, four minigames are available for you to try. These include Oriental Rodeo wherein you try to stay on a bucking magic carpet, Fly For Your Life which involves the standard racing with added pressure, Crazy Genie Race wherein you play as a genie balancing on top of a basketball against other similar genies, and Crazy Genie Battle wherein you try to bump other genies to make them fall off a ledge. All the minigames and main racing game can be played with up to four players at a time using split screen, and Aladdin Magic Racer is also compatible with the Wii Balance Board
As fun and outrageous as the games and minigames sound on paper, they play absolutely dreary in actual practice, or at least they do in this particular game. The Aladdin Magic Racer Wii game is typically a watered down Mario Kart. All five racers have no personality or creative character story, the magic carpets play similar with no noticeable advantage or disadvantage is terms of steering or handling, the course backdrop and visuals are bland, and the soundtrack is repetitious. In fact, the powerups themselves are also dull. There are certainly times of surprise, like how your racer can fall off a carpet and would have to catch it in time before it speeds away, and some moments can incite serious competition, but these are far and few between.
As for the minigames, they offer a brief respite from the mundanity of the game, but they never hold much water to begin with and will only give you but a few minutes or an hour of extra playing time.
Aladdin Magic Racer can be played on the Wii with up to four players of simultaneous split screen multiplayer action. It has support for the Wii Balance Board.
Aladdin Magic Racer could have been made with a lot more heart than its current state. After all, while racing games are an old concept, the idea of having a magic carpet theme and Arabian backdrop sound promising. However, the developers clearly did not have any interest in the project, and it shows with the lacklustre characters, vehicles, tracks, soundtracks, and practically everything inside this package. It doesn’t help that the game shares the same title as the extremely popular Disney movie, and some who thought they were getting a spin-off of the film will find a mountainful of desert sand disappointment instead.