The game makes numerous homages to Atari and its games. Bentley Bear, the main player character of Crystal Castles, is a playable character. The Borregas Cup is a reference to the old address of Atari: 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale. The Tempest Cup's name is a tribute to the classic Atari arcade game Tempest. The Miracle Race is named after Miracle Designs, the game's developer.
The music was composed in 1994 by Fabrice Gillet in Protracker on an Amiga. Neither he nor the people who created the in-game artwork are listed in the game's credits at the end of the game. The manual refers to them as the "Miracle Designs Team".
Atari Karts received mostly mixed reviews. The two sports reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly gave it scores of 5.5 and 5 out of 10, particularly criticizing the dull track design. One of them elaborated that "Although the scenery changes, each race is an exercise in repetition: pick up icons, don't hit anything." They did, however, compliment the smoothness of the controls.GamePro commented that the game was well-made but too simplistic and cutesy to appeal to anyone but young children, concluding, "These races present just the right level of cuteness and challenge for those younger Jaguar gamers. The question, of course, is how many seven-year-olds are out there looking for Jag games?" A reviewer for Next Generation agreed that Atari Karts was chiefly geared to a younger audience and lacks sophistication, and further criticized that the various tracks are visually different but handle and feel the same. However, he said the game "does have a certain charm that makes it hard to avoid." Reviewers for Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, and Next Generation all accused the game of being an obvious knockoff of Super Mario Kart.
In a retrospective review for The Atari Times, Gregory D. George criticized the lack of interesting power-ups and the limited enemy AI, which results in perfect drivers as the player's competition.