Cars Mater-National Championship is the sequel to last year’s Cars game based on the hugely successful Disney Pixar movie Cars. This year’s game features new tracks, all new competitors exclusive to the game, and new ways to play. If you like last year’s game then you will definitely want to pick up Cars Mater-national Championship this year.
My four year old son loves the Cars movie and has plenty of Cars toys littered around our house all the time for me to step on. He also really liked last year’s Cars video game for GameCube and Xbox 360. At first he loved just driving around in Radiator Springs collecting lighting bolts to unlock new cars and paint jobs. But, this year’s game he likes even more, since you can explore new environments and you can explore them as monster truck Lightning McQueen. He has also gotten good enough at playing some of the races to win them on Easy mode. Last night he actually beat the last race of the game on Easy mode, I was so proud.
This doesn’t mean that Cars Mater-National Championship has to be easy though. You can change the difficulty on the game from Easy to Normal or Hard on the fly from the options menu if you are looking for more of a challenge. I have to admit that I really like the game too, not just because my son and I have a great time playing it together, but also because it is actually a really good action adventure game that involves racing but also exploring. I beat last year’s game with my son and we had fun doing it all over again this year with Mater-National, since the storyline is totally new and original for the game. Cars Mater-National Championship also includes the original voice-actors doing all the voices, or at least people that sound really close to them, throughout the game and during the cut scenes before and after different races.
The sound effects in the game are also good and as expected in a Cars game, though I have to admit that you get a little sick of the cars you pass as you are exploring saying “Hello!”, “How ya doing?” and “You hit me!”. The other thing that I noticed that was kind of odd was that there is no music while you are exploring Radiator Springs this year. You only hear music when you roll over the icon to enter an event and during the events and races. In last year’s game you heard music throughout the game while exploring, but this year you only hear the car sound effects and dialog as mentioned above.
Speaking of “You hit me!”, the car that says that when you hit them is Mike from Monster Trucks, Inc. Mike and Sully make an appearance in the game, so if you are a fan of Monsters, Inc. you will enjoy their cameos. You actually get to drive Sully in some of the races and you get to drive other Cars characters like Mater, Doc Hudson, Ramone, Fillmore, and Flo.
These characters look great too and the game’s graphics bring the Cars movie experience into your family room. Granted, the graphics are not as good as the movie itself, but they look really good in their own right. You also get to explorer all of Radiator Springs and two surrounding areas that allow you to feel what it is like to drive down main street in good old Carborator County. I have to admit that the bushes and trees don’t look perfect and are basically flat pieces stuck together, but they really don’t take away from the game’s enjoyment.
As I mentioned above, my four year old son is able to win some of the races, so the controls are good and easy to pick up and once you learn how to tilt and power slide around the corners you will be able to stay on the track and not bang into the walls on the turns. But, even if you do bang into the walls the game is forgiving enough on the Easy mode to still let you win. This lets young and old players enjoy the game at their skill level.
This game is perfect for a young girl or boy that likes the Cars movie or that may enjoy racing games. It is not too difficult to figure out the basic controls and even if they can’t win races or don’t want to race they will still enjoy driving around the Radiator Springs environment collecting lighting bolts, banging into other cars and objects. This go anywhere environment can keep my son occupied for hours if we let him play that long. But, this doesn’t mean that if you are an adult you won’t also enjoy this game, especially if you like racing games and the Cars movie. Cranking up the difficulty can give you more of a challenge and the atmosphere of the game is fun and easy going. If you like racing games or if you have a young child you would like to enjoy a video game with then you can’t beat Cars Mater-National Championship.
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