Now I get to remember all about my favorite kart racing game. This game was one of the first games I ever played on my Gamecube and I still remember how many hours I spent in this game. Going through every nook and cranny in City Trial. Trying to do all the challenges in the normal racing sections. Ignoring the top-down section completely until realizing that it is incredibly fun.
Kirby has always been one of my favorite characters in gaming. The little guy is so simple and his games are usually as simple as he is. This is game is no exception. I actually prefer this to Mario Kart because Mario Kart is just too intense at times and the rubber band AI is just annoying. This game is the polar opposite. You are your own worst enemy. The AI just serves as fodder.
The game is split into three sections, two of them I can't remember the names for but they are both normal racing modes. The first one is just pick a kart and race through the tracks. Racing in this game breaks down between figuring out the courses. Each course has some kind of gimmick or some weird shortcuts. It takes time to learn the best route through some but once you know it, it sticks with you.
The second section is the top-down racing part. You are essentially a little kart on a tabletop course and you have to beat the rest of the racers to finish line. I didn't play that much of this game type till much later but it does get hectic. There are often course hazards and the items that you get are pretty fun. A very simple mode that is good with friends.
The last section of the game is the biggest and buy far my favorite. City Trial consists of a giant open map that players get to drive around and collect items or find new karts to ride. The best part of this mode is finding that really good kart and just destroying the other players. Each item you collect either helps or hinders your performance. After a certain amount of time, you get to compete in a challenge at the end. These can very from arena style fights to races to other challenges. The kart you pick can help or really hurt your chances at these challenges. For instance, if the challenge is to glide as far as you can and you are in a star that doesn't glide at all, you have no chance to win. You don't know what the challenge is when you start, so it is very risk and reward centric. Of course, if you get one of the two legendary kart, you pretty much can't lose.
This game came out at a weird time in the Gamecubes life and I wish it had been more popular. I definitely think there should be a sequel. City Trial all on it's own was just a huge blast to play. Competing against others for good stars, finding the best items, or just blowing everything up. It was so much fun to just wander around and have fun.