The Insurance Will Cover It: KarBOOM

I've just realised I'd really like to see student drivers attempting banger racing.

KarBOOM is a bitesize freeware treat about some lovely little cars indulging in a spot of sumo wrestling on a high plateau above a bottomless drop. It supports internet and local multiplayer, the latter a ridiculous attempt in trying to fit four desperate hands on one keyboard, each sweating to control the adorable wind up bumper cars as they fight their way through a bevvy of game mutators that work much in the same way as Unreal Tournament handles things.

KarBOOM 0.3 Progress update 2 – Indie DB

In development since late 2010 and seeing regular updates driven by community feedback, it’s an easy spot of fun. The driving model skips merrily between “Oh yeah, I got this” to “Oh god I’m totally out of control please stop I want to get off”, usually whenever the Boost mutator is in effect.

KarBOOM is eminently customisable, allowing you to fiddle with all manner of victory conditions, bots and mutators. It just barely works at times, the merry chaos in the latest update supporting up to 48 cars in the same arena, in as much as that madness is actually playable (it’s not).

Follow the fun over at the official page.


  1. Robslap says:

    Oooh, so very nearly micro machines 3d.

    • The JG Man says:

      I was going to say!

      Which begs the question, why the bloody hell isn’t there a new Micro Machines?!

    • grundus says:

      I swear, every post on this bloody site makes me long for the old days… If it’s not Escape Velocity it’s Ghost Recon or Deus Ex (you’re welcome to whoever is reinstalling DX after that name drop), and now Micro Bloody Machines. Luckily I have a Mega Drive sitting next to my other ‘consoles’ with three games (because my brother lost a shopping bag full of my other ones); Sonic 2, the 6-in-1 cart that came with it (Super Hang-On is still incredible) and Micro Machines 2. I only have two controllers though so 16-player madness is off the cards, but then as I only know two other people that’s not such a problem.

      This does look fun, it may be too much to hope that they decide to add circuit racing and model it on Micro Machines’ ‘physics’, but I’m hoping anyway.

    • spiderwebby says:

      There isn’t a new micro machines because the rules of modern games development state that a classic game cannot be re-made unless it’s turned into a pile of arse in the process.

      (/get off my lawn)

    • grundus says:

      It doesn’t have to be an actual Micro Machines branded game though (especially as they already remade MM for the PS1 and turned it into said pile of arse), so I’m holding out some hope for an indie effort at some point. It may already exist, who knows? Not me. There was an touchPhone game I had which was a lot like it, but not as good because it was trying to be serious. Also it was on a phone, very small vision required.

    • Jibb Smart says:

      Back when I had a Sega Mega Drive one of my favourite games of the time was MM. I can’t recall which — I was very young at the time. Race-mode for KarBOOM is probably the most-requested feature, and I’m definitely inclined towards the MM style (or perhaps more like Mashed, with the camera changing angle to follow the action better). It’s certainly not in this upcoming update, but I’ll surely have to add it before KarBOOM’s “final version”.

    • Amun says:

      @ The JG Man: It raises the question, it doesn’t beg it.
      Grammarman, AWAY!

    • Spacewalk says:

      If any game was to be on GOG then Micro Machines (or rather Micro Machines 2 because it was twice as good) has to be it.

  2. sinister agent says:

    Oh wow, I used to play a PD game exactly like this on the Amiga. It had far fewer cars (8 was the maximum, I think), but configurable friction and speed and such. You could also play with all the cairs tethered together in pairs. Also the platform got gradually smaller as time went on, and more importantly, it had kickass steel band music.

    If they can bring back the same music I will be very happy.

    • banski83 says:

      I used to have that on my old Amiga A500 as well. Loved it, the shrinking arena made it fantastically tense.

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      Hodge says:

      I thought the same thing – it went by the name of Knock Out. If KarBOOM manages to capture the same sense of crazyfun then it should be something really special.

    • Zeewolf says:

      Knock out! I had completely forgotten about that one. Good old days.

  3. Temple says:

    Widdle cars!

  4. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Next a furious-set-of-armchairs-foot-to-fall simulator please.

    • Jibb Smart says:

      When I first saw that episode of Top Gear I told myself I had to make a car-football game. I’ve had a lot of requests to put that in KarBOOM, and it’s definitely high on the to-do list :)

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      YAAAAAY! ^_^

      By the way, this game is frantic. Having tons of fun with my brother.

  5. HoosTrax says:

    Aesthetically, this game reminds me a lot of CarTown (the Facebook game). From the sounds of it, the customization options are quite limited right now (you can’t even pick car color), but hopefully more will be in store.

    • Andrew Smee says:

      You can pick car colours in the most recent version I played, there are a ton of different paint jobs.

    • Jibb Smart says:

      It’s worth noting that RPS’s version hasn’t been released publicly yet :) It should be out on IndieDB (and links on my website, of course) next Wednesday (Nov 30th).

  6. Jake says:

    Reminds me of both Micro Machines and Mashed. 48 player Mashed would be excellent although you would struggle to fit that may people around your TV.

  7. Hoaxfish says:

    It’s like a mini fireworks display made from cars

  8. Joseph says:

    It closely resembles link to .

    Are they related?

  9. Jibb Smart says:

    Hey guys! I’m Jibb Smart, KarBOOM’s developer!

    First of all I am SO excited to see KarBOOM on RPS :D That just makes me really happy.

    It’s worth noting that the version they’re playing hasn’t been released yet, but will be released on IndieDB next Wednesday, November 30th. Or at least, something like that. It’s still a work in progress, but the current public version was released in February (to give you an idea how much things have changed between the public version and the version RPS has). Updates used to be more regular, and they’re about to be again. There were just a lot of changes that needed to be made together, and I got carried away with some other stuff.

    So, thanks again, RPS! And feel free to drop comments here, on KarBOOM’s forum, or on KarBOOM’s IndieDB page — the IndieDB page is probably the most up-to-date source of information.


    EDIT: Also! 48 players is chaos, especially since there aren’t many big levels yet. I personally prefer smaller games — 2-4 players on the smaller levels, up to 10 or so on some of the larger ones.

  10. Devrey says:

    Reminds me a lot of Street Racer. It had a similar mode and I like that a lot!

  11. buzzmong says:

    Art style reminds me somewhat of Super Skidmarks for the Amiga. That’s surely due to a remake or smartphone re-release sometime soon. Awesome game.

  12. Jibb Smart says:

    Just in case anyone meanders back here, the version Andrew played (actually, a tweaked and updated version) is now available for everyone with a PC at KarBOOM’s IndieDB page.