After a complete rebranding, legally-distinct Bloodborne parody Nightmare Kart is finally released to the general public—and the PS1 vibes are immaculate

Nightmare Kart, the game formerly known as Bloodborne Kart, has had quite the roundabout journey to get here. Announced back in March 2022, the fan project—a Bloodborne-themed kart racer which feels like it started as a bit that was yes-anded into a real thing—was meant to be released January 31 of this year

Alas, Sony eventually stepped in just as the game was about to cross the finish line, and developer Lilith Walther was forced to completely rebrand the entire game. This has turned out to be a blessing and a curse—a curse, because it made the release date drift by a couple of months. A blessing, because in Walther's own words: "This is a fan game no more!" Now it's here, as announced by Walther on Twitter. 

You can't play Nightmare Kart on Steam just yet, due to being gunked up in what Walther describes as "review build jail", but it's up for grabs on for "free", as promised. I put free in quotes there, because it's technically a pay-what-you-want system, and I think Walther's team deserves recompense for the absolutely charming kart racer they've put together here.

Unlike Bloodborne PSX, this thing's a fully-fledged game, with 15 entire tracks, 21 racers, and a genuine campaign mode with boss fights in it. The presentation is immaculate. I actually think the veer away from Bloodborne has done Walther a lot of favours—all of the legally-distinct designs are completely charming. I especially like the Watchers, who have these goofy little pixelated eyeballs.

(Image credit: Lilith Walther)

I went for a couple of laps, and while I'm marvellously bad at kart racers, I was already having a good time. In Nightmare Kart, you can gather vials with which to boost by drifting, hairpin-turning, and doing stunts—you can also pick up and fire weapons to deal with not just your fellow racers, but actual monsters that'll litter the track like hazards, too.

It controls a little stiff, but in a charming, era-appropriate way for the PS1 vibes it's emulating, and it's nonetheless very responsive. The game itself's lovingly smattered with little details—for example, whenever you save, it pretends to check your memory card. Full shot of nostalgia straight into the bloodstream, there.

It's fully voice-acted and scored, too—and the soundtrack, which is available on Bandcamp, duly slaps. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to soothe my lack-of-Bloodborne on PC woes with a couple more nostalgia-fuelled laps.

Harvey Randall
Staff Writer

Harvey's history with games started when he first begged his parents for a World of Warcraft subscription aged 12, though he's since been cursed with Final Fantasy 14-brain and a huge crush on G'raha Tia. He made his start as a freelancer, writing for websites like Techradar, The Escapist, Dicebreaker, The Gamer, Into the Spine—and of course, PC Gamer. He'll sink his teeth into anything that looks interesting, though he has a soft spot for RPGs, soulslikes, roguelikes, deckbuilders, MMOs, and weird indie titles. He also plays a shelf load of TTRPGs in his offline time. Don't ask him what his favourite system is, he has too many.