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Cars Review

Developer: Rainbow Studios Publisher: THQ
Release Date: November 19, 2006 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

Disney Pixar’s Cars was a bit of a surprise summer hit. The movie was about….cars. Cars with faces, personalities and interaction with one another. There are no humans. Leave it to THQ to pick up a licensed property and bring it to every platform imaginable. Even though the storyline takes place after the movie, most of the characters return. Thankfully the graphics and sound are pretty well done with the likeness and voice of each character generally matching the individual characters quite well.

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You play as Lightning McQueen, a racer with potential that hasn’t quite hit the big time. To do that, you need to win some races. Cars sets you out in an open world environment where you can cruise around collecting things and enjoying the ride or you can select races at specific points on the map. The only problem with the open environment is it isn’t very interesting or enjoyable at all. Neither are the mini-games, such as the tractor tipping which attempts to divert attention from the racing a bit.

Basically all Cars is is a collection of mini-games and races with intermittent open environment segments. The environment isn’t a very large area, and the game prevents you from traveling on all of the open land. It largely seems like an unnecessary addition. In fact, the combination of the map and open environment leads to some confusing situations where you aren’t sure what missions you have and haven’t done.

The races are as straightforward as in any other racing games. You play on offroad tracks, courses that take place through the town and oval NASCAR-style races. The races are all fine and good, but the main complaint I have about them is that they drag on and are excruciatingly slow. Considering that this is a kids game, I can forgive the developers for this, but it is a big departure from the likes of Need for Speed and Burnout racing games, or even the Wii’s own Excite Truck

As far as the controls go, they aren’t as solid as you would hope. 2 accelerates your car and in an unusual move, A acts as the brake button. 1 seems like a more appropriate and comfortable alternative, but A is what you get. The bigger complaint is the steering, which is controlled turning the Wiimote. Rotating the Wiimote like a steering wheel is the most affective means of control, it just turns ridiculously slow at times. Considering this is the only reason you would even buy Cars on the Wii, it certainly does not help the package that they aren’t as responsive as they should be.

Overall, Cars is an honorable attempt at converting a children’s movie property into a working racing game. The developers had the right ideas in place, they just weren’t executed as well as they could have been. The open environment serves little purpose other than going from point A to point B, the controls (supposedly the Wii’s strongest asset) are difficult to get acclimated with and the tractor tipping (while cute) is both frustrating and not very fun. I would cautiously give a thumbs up for parents to buy this for their kids, as long as they can get acquainted with the controls.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 6
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 6.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide