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Tux Games: SuperTuxKart Review

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Super Tux Kart is a cart-racing game similar to games like Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing. It is free and open source, and runs really well on both new and old PCs. I actually got it running with ZERO issues on my Linux laptop, although it did initially complain and tell me that my graphics driver was really old. I'll include some side-by-side screenshots for comparison, but let me just say that I'm incredibly impressed. Most 3D games do not run on this thing!

Anyways, SuperTuxKart is actually based on an older game called TuxKart, which appears to no longer be available. This one was also free and open source, but the developers weren't able to continue the project and had to abandon it back in 2004. Fortunately for all of us, some lovely new developers picked it up and forked it, creating the game we're able to play today. In fact, if you've ever looked into Linux gaming you've probably come across this one, since it's pretty popular among Linux gamers.

Screencap from the Pyramids racing level, just before I took off past the starting line

Click the link below to check out my review and thoughts!

The game has a ton of modes to play through, so you can keep yourself busy for a while. First off is story mode, which if you've played through Diddy Kong Racing's story mode will be familiar to you. It has an overworld in which you slowly unlock more courses by playing and winning different races. It's got a nice mix of different modes, so you won't always be doing a straightforward race. Some of them are time trials, some require you to beat a saved ghost, others are grand prix, etc. Once you've unlocked the tracks and characters in the story mode, you can go to single race mode and play though them there. There are also a number of different race modes to play around with, including time trials, "find the hidden eggs" mode, arena battles, capture the flag, soccer, and more.

SuperTuxKart Story mode overworld, showing some entry bubbles in the foreground.

Multiplayer can be local or online, either by joining a server or by connecting directly to other players.

Each of the characters, a few of which are locked until you beat more of story mode, are based on open source software, so you've got characterizations of projects like Godot, GiMP, GNU, Krita, and more. They're cute and interesting, but don't seem to have different specs from what I can tell, so it's mostly just for fun. If you like, you can also download additional characters at the Add-ons site I linked above.

Level Design

One of the nicest looking levels: a zen garden. I went back through after beating it and slowed down for these screenshots because I liked it so much!

Levels are really nicely designed, and several of them are very pretty! One thing in particular that I liked is that they don't all take place in snowy places, like a good chunk of Super Tux does. I will say that when I first started out in Story Mode, I thought it was almost too easy, so I played everything on Expert. I'm happy to say, though, that the difficulty does pick up as you go along and I had to adjust the difficulty accordingly, so if you like a challenge, don't worry. I should mention that you're able to pick the difficulty of each race before you start, and I believe the main difference is that you get fewer points per win, so if you don't want a challenge you can still have fun as well.

Another one of my favorites-the Antediluvian level, in a glass tunnel under the ocean


The game pays great with both keyboard and controller. I used my XBox 360 controller on my Windows PC, and although the button choices are a little weird, it worked fine. They can all be remapped, anyway, so if you're not happy with them, you can change them to whatever you like by going into the Options menu, whether mid-race or in the menu sections. Keyboard worked just as well when I was playing it on my laptop. Again, some of the buttons are non-intuitive, but they can all be changed if you like.


Graphics comparison between my old and new computers. It's pretty close actually!

Graphics are pretty great, though they will take a hit if you're on older hardware. It does this so that it keep the game up to speed, though, so I don't consider this to be a drawback. Some of the tracks, though, are genuinely beautiful, and I slowed down on a few of them to get some more scenic shots of what was going on. The style is of course less realistic and more cartoony, in keeping with the rest of the art from the game.

You knew there had to be a lava level. This is actually on a volcanic island


Sounds are appropriately cartoony and clear, and the music is nice. The tracks are written by a variety of contributors, who will get credit onscreen as the songs begin to play, which I think is a nice touch. As such, they kind of vary in style, but there were none that I absolutely hated.

The haaaaauuuunted level! I always love a good haunted house


Kart racing games in general I think are pretty easy to play over and over, and this one is no exception. Once you've played through all the included levels, of which there are many, if you really want more you can either create your own or download from the tons that people have made available online. Even so, it always fun to go back and try to beat personal bests or just zone out on easy mode in a regular race.

I won the grand prix! One of many, though

Overall Impressions: It's a well made kart racer, and I love any good kart racing games. 10/10

Time to complete: You can take a while to go through the story mode, and it has tons of replayability afterwards. I'd say several months to indefinitely for me.

You'll like this if you like Diddy Kong Racing, Crash Team Racing, Arcade-type racers


The Frugal Blog on : A look at my old laptop

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I've mentioned that I have an old laptop that I do most of my web development on in various places, but I thought it'd be nice if I went over its specs and why I use it. I think it's pretty important to minimize the amount e-waste I generate for a lot


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