|Mode(s)||Single-player and multiplayer|
Disney Speedstorm is a free-to-play kart racing game developed by Gameloft Barcelona and published by Gameloft. It features various Disney and Pixar characters racing vehicles on tracks themed after the worlds of their films and franchises. The game was released in a pay-for early access on 18 April 2023 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S, and it will leave early access on 28 September 2023.
Disney Speedstorm is a free-to-play kart racing game with a roster composed of characters from various Disney properties, such as the Mickey and Friends, Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story and Beauty and the Beast franchises, among others. Various minor Disney characters appear as "crew members" that provide stat boosts and other enhancements for characters from their affiliated collections (franchises), such as the Orange Bird serving as a Crew Member for Figment. The gameplay is similar to Mario Kart.
The game includes various different single-player and multiplayer modes. Single-player modes include "Starter Circuit", a series of events divided into chapters focusing on a single racer (specifically Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Mulan, Hercules and Jack Sparrow) that effectively serves as the game's "tutorial", limited events, which offer rewards for completing specific objectives or for getting a fast time on a leaderboard compared with other players online, and Season Tour, a limited-time campaign mode that changes each new content season. Multiplayer includes ranked multiplayer, where players race to earn points to unlock tiers of rewards for each of their unlocked Racers, regulated multiplayer, a separate ranked multiplayer (with its own set of rewards that change weekly) that puts all Racers at the same performance levels, "Private Track", which allows players to set up their own custom races online with friends or invited players, and "Local Freeplay", the game's only offline mode, which features custom races for one to four players (one or two players on older consoles) in split-screen multiplayer.
The races themselves are available in different types that feature different gimmicks: "Classic" is a traditional race; "Single Skill" forces all Racers to use the same power-up skill (usually an offensive item such as a mine); "Floating Objects" have speed boosts and power-up items floating above the ground, thus forcing Racers to jump to reach them; "Fog Challenge" covers the track in a dense fog—limiting visibility—and removes the minimap from the player's heads-up display; and "Last One Standing" is an elimination race where after a short (and declining) amount of time passes, the last place Racer either loses a "shield drone" and is teleported ahead on the track to try to avoid falling back to last or is eliminated if they have no more drones remaining. In the season two update in June 2023, the game added two new race types called "Colour Match"[c] and "Follow the Leader"; the former type forces players to pick up power-up items corresponding to one of two colours—green and purple—their Racer is assigned to as indicated by the HUD and an underglow effect beneath their vehicle, switching between colours during the race, while the latter adds a long slipstream trail behind the race leader that provides a speed boost to the racers following the trail.
The game features a voice cast of actors, most of whom reprise their respective characters.
As of June 2023, the game has a total of 24 playable characters, referred to as Racers, from nine Disney media franchises.
‡ – Upcoming racer/franchise
|Beauty and the Beast||Beast|
|The Jungle Book||Baloo|
|Lilo & Stitch‡||Stitch‡|
|Mickey Mouse & Friends||Donald Duck|
|Monsters, Inc.||Celia Mae|
|Pirates of the Caribbean||Elizabeth Swann|
|Toy Story||Bo Peep|
Disney Speedstorm was developed by Gameloft Barcelona to recreate a free-to-play racing game. Alexandru “Sasha” Adam, VP and studio manager, Gameloft Barcelona explained, "The gameplay mechanics, the racer abilities and the location design were all tailored to serve our vision of a fast and gripping competitive experience.”
Announced in March 2023, the game was released in early access for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S on 18 April 2023. A trailer for the game was released on 9 September 2022 at the D23 Expo.
On 30 June 2023, Gameloft announced that the game would leave early access, entering its intended free-to-play period, on 28 September 2023, following the conclusion of the game's third season.
On 27 March 2023, Gameloft released a trailer announcing three "Founder's Packs" that would be available during the game's early access period. The Founder's Packs, which are required for early access, all contain Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck as unlocked racers (with the Deluxe Founder's Pack adding Mulan and the Ultimate Founder's Pack adding her, Hercules, and Jack Sparrow), plus a choice to immediately unlock Baloo, Belle, Beast, Elizabeth Swann, Li Shang, or Mowgli; Tokens (the game's premium currency; 4,000 Tokens for Standard, 7,000 for Deluxe, and 12,000 for Ultimate), two (or three for Ultimate) Golden Pass Credits (unlocking the Golden Pass, the game's battle pass system), exclusive racing suits and kart liveries for each of the immediately unlocked racers (depending on the player's chosen tier), exclusive Donald Duck kart wheels and wing (Ultimate only), and an exclusive player avatar and profile motto.
As a free-to-play title, all content in the game (apart from the Founder's Pack exclusives) are added via seasonal content updates, which are added approximately every two months. Each season adds new racers, four or five racers from a franchise of focus for that season, a new track environment based on that franchise, and one or two new "bonus" racers not affiliated with the season's focused-on franchise, as well as new crew members and customisation options for the racers.
Although Speedstorm has only been released in early access so far, Metacritic gave the PlayStation 5 version an aggregate review score of 72 out of 100 based on eight reviews, the Xbox Series version a 71 out of 100 based on six reviews, and the Nintendo Switch version 65/100 based on four reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews" for all three versions.
Chris Scullion for Nintendo Life gave the game a six out of ten stars rating and commented, "Disney Speedstorm delivers solid karting action with fantastic handling and clearly spends a lot of care and attention on its characters and courses. Its performance on Switch lets it down, though, especially on handheld where it's a blurry, stuttery mess, and those not interested in the live service setup will struggle to get along with it."
John Hansen of Push Square gave the game a 7 out of 10 for the PlayStation 5 version and stated, "Disney Speedstorm is a fun game that we're glad to see has quite a bit of quality to it. There are some reservations about how well the free-to-play monetisation will work as we move forward, but looking just at the game itself, it’s not a bad time. There is room for this title to become very popular, especially if the right additions are made. At the very least, this can become a fun game for friends. If you're a Disney fan, it's a good way to mash together some of your favorite old movies and battle it out on the racetrack."
Luke Reilly of IGN gave the game a 5 out of 10 and stated, "Disney Speedstorm in Early Access is a fundamentally good kart racer that’s currently too light on tracks and too repetitive to warrant the required investment. Worse still, it’s buried beneath a veritable Splash Mountain of gacha garbage and so many discrete currencies that do different things that it almost seems like a parody of the entire free-to-play genre. Nothing sucks like gacha, plucks your bucks like gacha, makes you jump through hoops for Donald Duck like gacha."