Ryan’s World has over 22 million subscribers on YouTube, but he isn’t exactly a household name compared to other prominent vloggers. His videos are aimed at younger children and predominantly feature reviews of toys and games, but also include day-to-day videos of his family’s life. Last year, his videos and line of toys and merchandise earned him over $22 million, making him the highest paid YouTube star for 2018. In a nutshell, he’s a pretty big deal, but this may be the first time a lot of people have heard of him.
Race with Ryan is the first console videogame released as part of Ryan’s World. It is a kart racer aimed at a similar pre-school audience to the YouTube channel, featuring many of the same supporting cast, and also plenty of footage of Ryan and his parents. The presentation and overall appearance may be lacking but the racing is pretty solid, and existing fans of Ryan and his madcap family will no doubt love every second of the game.
Racing takes place on six different tracks – available in both forward and reverse versions – that take in everything kids love: bedrooms, toy stores and fairgrounds, but then also there are tracks based on the wild west, a spooky one and a pirate-y one too. The number might not be huge, but each circuit is at least diverse enough from the previous one.
Better choices come from the characters and more specifically the vehicles to choose from. Each character has two or three different vehicles to pick from, and not all are four wheeled; helicopters, trains, spaceships, boats and more. None of the vehicles have stats though, so the choice is purely cosmetic, but it is a good and colourful selection nonetheless.
There are a few modes in Race with Ryan, but all are pretty standard stuff and none should come as a surprise. Fast Race lets you pick a single track – providing you have unlocked it – for a quick blast of fun, and Random Race automatically selects a track and driver for you should you want to jump in as quickly as possible. Career mode though is where you will spend most of your time.
In Career mode there are six cups to aim for, and each has three difficulties. The first three cups – Pizza Cup, Toys Master and Formula Fruit – only have three races in each. Cups four and five have four races each and the final championship has all six tracks back-to-back.
There is also up to 4-player splitscreen where you can undertake all the same modes, including 4-player career mode.
Then when you get into the game itself, the racing feels surprisingly good. Extensive use of the powerslide is essential in the harder difficulties but it feels smooth, letting you drift round the corners and speed down the straights. Sometimes though, you can feel like you are far enough away from a hazard, but the hit detection argues otherwise and your car gets flattened for a brief period, but this is a minor issue if you stay in the middle of the track.
As with any kart racer, pickups are a must and Race with Ryan is no exception. There are all your standard types here but all are done in a child-friendly way. Projectiles consist of a football and a tennis ball, shields are made of hamburgers – food seems to be a recurring theme in this game – and there are even decoy pickups that you can use to confuse other drivers. There isn’t a vast amount of powerups in Race with Ryan, but what is there does the job.
Fans of Ryan on YouTube will be pleased to know his voice is included in the game, through short introductory videos at the start of each cup, and also in the races, acting almost like a commentator. But they aren’t of the highest sound quality. In fact, with some lines you can even hear the clicking on of his microphone before a brief pause and then the line said. Presentation-wise it feels lacking and could have done with a bit more polish, especially when you consider the price of this game is £34.99. That price point is an issue.
Race with Ryan has 23 achievements in total, and as expected, this is a fairly easy completion. Most – but not all – of the cups in career mode have associated achievements, but it is worth noting that difficulty ones do not stack; you will need to play the Easy, Medium and Hard versions of each cup to unlock them all. Provided you aim for these, the other achievements for driving a certain number of hours and total time drifting will likely unlock during a normal playthrough and without much effort.
Race with Ryan on the Xbox One has some solid arcade style driving that is worth a look at, for both fans of the YouTube channel and those looking for more kart racing. Sadly, the presentation is a bit lacking with some voice recordings sounding worse than an amateur podcast. That price point is a sticky issue at £34.99 too, especially when you consider a much better kart racer – Crash Team Racing – is only £29.99. But, if you can stomach the high price then there is something here for both fans and non-fans of Ryan and his YouTube channel.