You'll be too busy drooling over the gameplay. This game, like Crash Team Racing
before it, doesn't really offer anything new to the genre. Pick a racer, each with their own settings of speed, control, and whatnot, and set off to complete on a few tracks. Use pickups (missiles, bombs, and weird devices that basically equate to the Black Ball of Doom from CTR
) to knock your opponents out of commission so you can take first place. It's been done before, many times, and the genre is getting stale.
But Speed Punks is just so damned fun. Each track has its own unique style, and you have to genuinely race differently on each one. Along with that, as you complete laps on each track, shortcuts open up, enabling you to skip major portions of the track to get ahead of opponents who don't know any better. This is good and bad; good for the person who has played the game a few times and knows where all the shortcuts are, bad for the newbie who hasn't been able to mess around much yet. In all fairness, let each new player race a few times to get the hang of each track so that they know the shortcuts. The computer A.I. actually uses its items relatively intelligently. They'll shoot you with their machine guns, blow you away with their missiles, and use their boost power to zoom ahead of you. Unlike CTR, where you gained boosts by power-sliding at every chance and jumping, in Speed Punks, little icons appear on the maps that you can pick up to gain boost energy. You can use the boost, like in F-Zero and F-Zero X, to zoom past your opponents, but it drains pretty rapidly. Judicious use will make or break you.
Every time you complete a track, you get ranked. Get enough points to win the league, and you can go on to the next one. Yes, there are hidden tracks and hidden players. Aren't there always? Along with this, if you do well enough on the tracks, secret game modes will open up for even more fun.
What kart racing is really about, however, is multi-player. Speed Punks supports the multitap, and it's an absolute blast. Blowing your opponents away has never been so fun in a kart game. Multi-player is where Speed Punks really shines, as it doesn't have the full-featured Adventure Mode that kept us entertained in CTR when we didn't have friends around. Mind you, the single-player game is still great fun, but not as much so.