Disney Pixar Cars PS2 Review

Children’s games are often viewed as nothing but rubbish by the hardcore gaming populace, but this simply isn’t the case. Many of these same people regularly enjoy the likes of Mario, Sonic, Super Monkey Ball and the Katamari games, all of which are clearly aimed at a kiddie audience, but are strangely rarely boxed with other juvenile titles. So perhaps these people should think again before slamming games aimed at the younger gamer. You are probably here to read about Cars though, and with that rant out of the way lets get on with the review.

You might be running for the hills from Cars, due to the tarnished reputation of licensed titles, but there’s certainly no reason for alarm, as the latest Pixar movie tie-in is an inoffensive and charming title.

A licensed game based on a children’s movie is often a cookie cutter platformer, but the Cars source material will obviously conjure up images of something involving vehicular action for many, like racing perhaps. It’s hard to actually call it a racing title without cracking a smile, as you’ll find your opponents are soon falling behind as you yourself build an unassailable lead during many of the races, but Cars is certain to entertain the target audience of the CG movie it is based on, as well as the big kid.

It’s not exclusively a racing title by any means, as other tasks involve you doing such delightful things as finding postcards, pulling off a calculated heist, tractor tipping (think the urban legend that is cow tipping, only with tractors) pursuits, and more. These are all fun, but as both the movie and the game in question is about a racing car called Lightning McQueen (who just happens to be striving for championship status on the track) you’ll just know that you’ll be burning rubber on the racing road for a large portion of the story.

The racing is nippy and the handling is intuitively loose, therefore it goes without saying that seasoned gamers have nothing that will pose them a serious challenge here. Even if you are cruising out in front, power sliding around the tracks is never anything less than enjoyable, and earning the boost early in the story obviously doubly breaks any speed laws that were in place.

You’ll be racing on dusty desert as well as oval tarmac tracks, as you’d expect, each of the different surfaces gives you a totally different driving feel. The desert tracks are obviously more interesting than the ovals, and are made even more so thanks to often boasting multiple routes.

Tyre wear is even present during the oval races, and a quick drop into the pits will sort this out through an enjoyable mini game. This entails you matching button presses with the on-screen prompts, and involves you putting new tyres on, wiping the windscreen down and refilling the fuel, obviously with the aim of accomplishing everything as swiftly as possible.

During races you earn points by performing various tasks (like driving backwards, we kid you not) – in turn these points can be used to unlock additional characters for the multiplayer and arcade modes, as well as artwork, stunning movie clips and deleted scenes from the game. It’s certainly a rewarding way to unlock content, especially for the audience that the game is aimed at.

A serviceable multiplayer mode presents you with racing obviously, but the mini games found in the story mode are also an option. The pitstop mini game isn’t really enjoyable as a multiplayer mode, nor is the tractor tipping, but the racing is obviously just as satisfying, and some will welcome the competition that another player may bring.

Cars may not be the greatest kids game on the market, but it’s certainly a title that has personality in abundance, and is graphically vibrant and attractive. If you are looking for another Gran Turismo, then you are totally missing the point, but for an easy going “my first racer” experience, there’s certainly no better option.