Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 39
  2. Negative: 5 out of 39
Buy On
  1. 50
    This kart (and plane and hovercraft) racer has received the sort of imperceptible face-lift known as the "enhanced port" treatment. But not enhanced enough, when you could be playing Mario Kart DS instead.
  2. AceGamez
    Though it plays second fiddle to its old rival, Mario Kart, Diddy Kong Racing shows that there is still a place in the gaming world for kart-driving monkeys, plane-flying turtles and hovercraft-steering tigers.
  3. Diddy Kong Racing DS ends up being a slightly above average racing game. If you are expecting to find a better time than Mario Kart here, keep looking.
  4. It just doesn't lend itself to the DS. There's no doubt it would have fared much better on the PSP, but just try to convince Nintendo of that.
  5. A solid racer, held back somewhat by the failings of the original Nintendo 64 game that were carried over to this Nintendo DS port.
  6. With some good graphics, good sound, and some great multiplayer additions (both off and online) Diddy Kong is only held back by Rare forcing gamers to play the game’s levels over and over to fully complete it.
  7. 55
    A so-so racer that was super fun in 1997, but pales in comparison when stacked up against the plumbers DS iteration.
  8. An enhanced port of a game from 3-D gaming's training-wheel days still is a port.
  9. Edge Magazine
    Rare’s late-‘90s obsession with currencies and unlockables, combined with the new additions to adventure mode, make Diddy Kong Racing feel at times like a maze of conditions and transactions in search of an actual game, and put many of its attractive new features behind bars with no word of how to free them. [Apr 2007, p.87]
  10. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    File this under "Why Bother?" [Mar 2007, p.93]
  11. Sure, it's a bit slow compared to Mario Kart, and yes the lion's share of the tracks are fairly forgettable, but the potential is there. However, there is just so much extra flotsam that the game forces you to navigate through to get at even the marginally fun bits that it hardly seems worth it.
  12. Insipid character and course design married with inherently repetitive gameplay, obsessive collecting and an array of horrible touchscreen features make this feel like a waste of time. It's got plenty of content, and is a perfectly serviceable, occasionally competitive kart racer, but there's not much distinguishing about it.
  13. Collecting balloons, searching an island for an race to compete in, fighting with the awkward controls are all part of Diddy Kong Racing that wasn’t appealing.
  14. None of it has the magic supplied by the much better "Mario Kart," and the game starts feeling less like a drive to the finish and more like a time waster.
  15. It's great filler if you need a change of scenery, but still a distant second behind "Mario Kart DS."
  16. The whole collection theme grows tiring, with players having to repeat races to find items to proceed. The DS-exclusive enhancements don't help either, and end up being pointless.
  17. 70
    If the controls weren't so frustrating, the game play experience would have been a lot more enjoyable.
  18. It is extremely difficult to be shooting things with your stylus and at the same time maintain control of your vehicle; humans were only born to have two hands.
  19. Games Master UK
    A creditable addition to your DS, but lacks the style and spark of "Mario Kart." [May 2007, p.79]
  20. games(TM)
    Nintendo was keen not to force "Mario Kart DS" in a typically DS direction, so we see no reason why Diddy Kong Racing DS wasn’t treated in the same way. [Apr 2007, p.118]
  21. Diddy Kong Racing DS is a decent racer with plenty to do and some interesting new content, but the seemingly endless amount of tasks you must complete to enjoy all of it may irritate anyone who simply wants to race.
  22. 40
    Beyond the graphics and design foibles, the difficulty ramps up in an unsettling way, with races going from child's play to infernal bloodsport in the span of a single race.
  23. So in the end you have a fairly decent racer swimming a lake polluted with a metric ton of collectable refuse.
  24. Diddy Kong Racing was great back in 1997, and it’s managed to hold up almost a decade later. The added content is nice for those who completely destroyed the original game, and those who’ve never played it will be surprised at its quality, depth, and longevity.
  25. It’s just not as fun to play as "Mario Kart DS." The power-ups aren’t as entertaining, the game runs slower, the characters are generic, and the tracks feel uninspired.
  26. 71
    Diddy Kong Racing's a good product with some first-generation blues dragging it down. The fantastic online and customization focus offset some of the clunky items that made it into the design...but don't think we're going to turn a blind eye to the stupid stuff.
  27. A dumbed-down, bastardized version of the N64 hit. All the touch screen control and mini games completely suck to high hell.
  28. Yes, it's a less charming "Mario Kart," but this game is packed with ideas and fantastic racing. [Apr 2007, p.69]
  29. Nintendo Power
    Like its predecessor, Diddy Kong Racing DS has a Mario Kart game to compete with, but also enough unique features to make it a kart-racing contender. [Mar. 2007, p.87]
  30. Despite all of the negative points to the game, the charm that made the original a favorite to many still shines through. As long as you don't start up the game expecting "Mario Kart DS," you'll get lots of fun out of Diddy Kong Racing DS.
  31. 70
    Diddy Kong Racing DS is still a compulsive challenge and for sheer content and variety, it wins outright. But it’s not a fully convincing reinvention, and equally it’s changed too much to feel like a reassuring old friend.
  32. Official Nintendo Magazine UK
    This could have been as good as "Mario Kart DS" but ditching some fun ideas to make room for the new DS-specific content actually drags the whole thing down. [May 2007, p.72]
  33. 70
    Although a few hiccups are met along the way in the form of the touch screen elements, gameplay remains solid enough to keep you playing until the end. Multiplayer is the game’s saving grace.
  34. A decent multiplayer mode and loads of extras, but let down by poor control and often flawed design.
  35. Diddy Kong Racing DS is a good alternative to Mario Kart DS. However, even with all new features, it's not as great as the 64 version.
  36. Many kids will have fun whizzing around the colourful courses, but some will be frustrated when the difficulty rises sharply after the initial races. The highlight is wirelessly competing against up to eight remote friends.
  37. Exploring an entire island in order to race is tedious in itself. The need to win first place every time forces you to replay a track until you race perfection. The controls are slippery, and the gameplay seems sluggish. The Touch Screen features are poorly implemented. The difficulty, AI competitors, and convoluted mini-games are pathetic at best.
  38. Fans of the old-school Nintendo 64 version might find a lot to like here, but this standard racing title's reliance on repetition and gimmicky touchscreen controls won't do anything to make you forget Mario Kart DS.
  39. 70
    The stylus aspects were better left out, fun is barricaded by a need to complete Adventure mode, and the overall vibe is even more painfully sugarcoated today than it was a decade ago.

Awards & Rankings

#38 Most Discussed DS Game of 2007
#11 Most Shared DS Game of 2007
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 30
  2. Negative: 4 out of 30
  1. Aug 30, 2017
    If you ever have played the original Diddy Kong Racing, NEVER play this version. I rated with a 5/10 because if you never have played the gameIf you ever have played the original Diddy Kong Racing, NEVER play this version. I rated with a 5/10 because if you never have played the game before on the N64, it's, well, a regular game, not for other reason. Full Review »
  2. Oct 13, 2011
    I love Diddy Kong Racing. Mario Kart Racing DS is NOT superior, but is. However Diddy Kong has a hovercraft, a plane, and a car and you canI love Diddy Kong Racing. Mario Kart Racing DS is NOT superior, but is. However Diddy Kong has a hovercraft, a plane, and a car and you can upgrade them to go faster, and there are two never-ending story modes + race tracks, so I'd say it's really a nice choice. It has speed ups, bananas, oils, magnetism, invincibility, and rockets and boss battles. I really love the graphics, but the beginning storyline video is just disappointing and a bit long, but the rest is completely worth it. Two thumbs and two toes up! Definitely purchase this over Mario Kart. A lot cheaper, but that's not understood by the reviewer. Full Review »
  3. Jun 13, 2011
    it fun game and nice to play when you on the go but it not best racing game for the ds but it fun game