Name: Homie Rollerz
Genre: Kart Racing
Platforms: Nintendo DS
Remember Homiez? Those crappy, offensively stereotypical little figures that you get out of the gumball machines at the grocery store? The ones that set back Hispanic culture about 40 years by themselves? Yeah, those ones. Well, for some reason, Destineer has made a kart racer based on them for the DS. I’ll give you three guesses if it’s any good. Here's the exclusive Gamervision interview with Destineer. Try to watch until the end to see the PR guy try to pretend their doing Hispanic gamers a favor.
In the grand tradition of Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing, Motor Kombat and Pac-Man World Rally, Homie Rollerz is your standard, cookie-cutter, low-quality knockoff of Mario Kart. The difference here, however, is that Homie Rollerz is virtually unplayable. In the kart racing world, tight controls are everything. Homie Rollerz fails to realize this, and delivers some of the worst controls ever seen on a racing game. Steering is a frustrating, unpleasant experience, with the slightest tap of the D-pad sending you spinning wildly around the track. It feels like you’re rotating the track as opposed to steering your vehicle. There is absolutely no sense of speed, making the whole affair feel like a low-speed chase in a wobbly shopping cart. The requisite weaponry in the game is about what you’d expect from a kart racer; oil slicks, bottle rockets, position switchers. Nothing terribly exciting, but they mostly seem to work okay.
As bad as the controls are, the level designs may actually be worse. Some boards are loaded with extremely cheap obstacles that send your kart spinning out of control for a few seconds, while others seem completely devoid of anything more threatening than a speed bump. This makes for an extremely unbalanced feel, especially considering that you need to finish first on a course to move on to the next one. This means that you’ll spend hours attempting to complete a racer’s first level, then zip through the next two on the first try. Of course, this is all hypothetical, as no one will actually be playing this game for hours under any circumstances.
Graphically, Homie Rollerz is somewhere between abysmal and horrendous, with a shameful lack of textures, ugly racer models and uninspired art design. Cut scenes are hand drawn and static, yet still manage to be the game’s visual highlight. The game can’t seem to decide whether its cars are full-sized or miniature. Some levels, like the Aztec ruins, lead you to believe that you’re controlling regular karts, but others place you amongst gigantic barrels and household items, sizing you somewhere around Hot Wheels size.
Respect points are earned by winning races and performing tricks, and those points can be spent on upgrades like new engines, tires and paint jobs. The performance updates don’t seem to make much of a difference. Regardless of which engine you install, your racer always seems to be significantly slower than everyone else’s. Paint jobs seem to be the most effective; they at least change the color of your kart!
Regardless of its license, Homie Rollerz is a lousy excuse for a racing game. When you add in the trappings of the offensive Homiez property, you end up with a game that should never have been made, and should never be purchased by anyone. All the game’s competitors are Homiez characters, and all are bad stereotypes. You’ve got Big Loco, the former gangster-turned-youth counselor (who still dresses like every "vato loco" gangster you can think of), Mac Daddy, the old school pimp, and, yes, a talking chile pepper named “El Chilote.” I’m not Hispanic, but this game managed to offend me.
If you haven’t picked up the subtle hints yet, I’m not really a fan of this game. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, even as a joke. It’s bad. Real bad. Please, for your sake and mine, stay far away from this game. Even if you get it for free. Even if you get paid to take it. Even if they make it so the DS only plays one game, and this is it, I can’t recommend it. Awful.