Nexon is a South Korea-based publisher that's basically helped create and define the idea of free-to-play, microtransaction-based MMOs around the world. While microtransactions have become popular in all kinds of game genres in the last few years (including in quite a few apps on the iPhone), Nexon pioneered the business model with popular MMO games like MapleStory and Combat Arms. The company's been saying for a while that it plans to move more into the social and mobile game spaces in the West (it already has quite a stable of mobile games in Korea). At GDC 2011 this past week, I got to see the company's first entry on the iPhone in America, a game called KartRider Rush.
KartRider Rush is based on an MMO called Kart Rider that has never been brought to the West before (except for a short run in beta on the PC), but is well established in Korea. It's a cartoony kart racing game in the vein of Mario Kart, with customizable characters racing around a set of tracks. I enjoyed the game, though it is fun and simple. KartRider Rush accelerates for you, so you can either drive with a set of on-screen buttons or change the option to tilt the device. There are power-ups, like speed boosts and attacks, and races can be chaotic, with players quickly switching positions over the ride.