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Like many people, I had not seen the fantastic Disney Pixar movie Cars until it was shown on TV at christmas. As a family, we really enjoyed the movie, and my kids really liked the characters in the film. Therefore, when we noticed this DS game, based on the movie, for sale on Amazon, I thought that it looked like a high quality game that the whole family would enjoy. A big reason that I purchsed the game was the great write up that it received on the site:
"Story-based racing adventure game that will relive all of the key moments of the movie
More than 10 playable characters from the film
Open world environment with more than 50 races
Authentic voice talent from the movie "
After reading this description, this was definitely a game that I liked the look of, so I bought it for £20 from Amazon. However, the game I got was completely different to the one described!
The game itself
Rather than being a racing adventure game, as advertised, Cars for the DS is merely a selection of rather mediocre minigames. There is no adventure mode or story mode on this game at all. The game starts with lively rock music and the menu screen is actually a parking lot, which at the beginning allows you to select from three initial minigames, represented by different cars parked in the lot. As you complete these minigames, more games are unlocked and more car characters fill the parking lot, which can be selected by using the stylus. There is also an additional minigame of the Piston Cup, that you can play.
I will now describe each of the minigames and my experience of playing them:
This is one of the three initial minigames that you can acess straight away without having to unlock. You play as a minor character called "Snot Rod", who is being chased along the interstate by the Sherrif, who is, of course, a police car. The road that you are driving on has four lanes, and you toggle between
Pictures of Cars (Nintendo DS)
Cars (Nintendo DS) ..the lanes using your stylus to tap the screen where you want to go. In the road there are various obstacles, such as other cars, cones and trucks, as well as other racing cars that come up suddently behind you. The game is quite fun to begin with, but the road seems to be neverending, and the levels are very long. Initially, there are only three levels, but when you complete these, there are a total of ten levels to play, which get more dificult. I have managed to get to level four, but then it gets really hard and there are too many obstacles to crash into. My 10 year old son can get to the same point as me, but my younger kids struggle with the speed and difficulty of this game. Snot Rod also sneezes occasionaly, speeding up the game drastically and making it very hard to avoid things.
Luigi's Casa Della Tires:
This game has to be unlocked so that you can play it. You play the part of Guido, who has to stack tires outside the shop. You throw up a tire by performing an upward sweeping action with the stylus to flip a tyre up and try to time it so that it lands on the top of the pile. The game is fun at first, but gets very repetitive indeed. Each level creates a higher stack of tyres, which is more difficult to add more tyres to.I actually got bored of this and quit after about 5 levels, as it got really tedious. Again, this is a game that very young kids would struggle with, as your timing has to be spot on.
Hydraulic Jump Jam:
This is an easier game for kids. Ramone is a car that can jump, and you need to tap him with the stylus to get him to bounce as he lands. To complete a level, you need to reach a certain height before you can move on. Again, it gets a bit tedious, but it is perfect for younger ones to play, as most people will manage the tapping action easily.
In this unlockable minigame, you need to use a sweeping action of the stylus to cast the hook out to the river and try to latch on to pieces of rubbish floating along. Once you have hooked something, you have to carefully wind the rubbish to the shore, but if you knock it into another piece it will float away. To progress up the levels, you need to get a certain total of pieces. This game is quite enjoyable, and not too difficult, although the full 10 level version gets very repetitive, and had me quitting from boredom at about level 6.
This is one of the three initial games available. In this game, the cars line up at the petrol station waiting to be served. To fill them up you rub them up and down(!) with the stylus. As you progress through the levels, the cars come faster and faster, and if you don't attend to them quickly enough, they will get angry and leave. I found this game really hard, as the cars pulled up too quickly, and there were too many of them to serve at once. I only got to level 2! My kids really struggle with this one.
Mack the truck gets sleepy in this unlockable game, and is dropping trophies all over the road. You have to catch the trophies with the syllus and drag them to the right coloured bins. I really enjoyed this game, and completed all 10 levels without getting bored and giving up. There was anough variety in gameplay to keep me interested.
This is a backwards race against Mater the tow truck. Again. it features the same vertical scrolling style of the other race levels, and is quite easy to complete. You use the control pad instead of the stylus to steer, so it is slighly more intuitive, and a bit easier for kids to play than some of the other levels.
An unlockable memory game, which requires you to repeat certain beat patterns after the DJ. It is quite tricky to play, and reminded me a bit of that old 80's "Simon" game. If you complete enough levels, you can unlock a freestyle mode, which allows you to use the drums and scratches to jam along to the music however you want, which again, is nice and simple for kids.
That Blinkin' Light:
This is virtually identical to the previous game, and is available from the start. You have to touch lights with your stylus to repeat the sequence that you heard. This is really hard for kids, when it starts to sequence beyond 5 colours, and can get very tedious.
The Drive In:
I actually love this game, as it reminded me of the room escape games in Proffessor Layton. You have to slide cars around to manoevre your car out of the parking lot. I managed all 10 levels of this without getting bored, and this is one I could play for ages, although my kids don't like this one at all.
Remeber that funny scene from the movie when they are trying to tip the tractors in the field? This unlockable game recreates it. This is, in my opinion, the hardest of the mingames, as there is a Bulldozer chasing you, and it is pretty impossibl;e to get past level 1!
Best Backwards Driver:
This minigame is a bit like the old "hypersports" games we used to play, which required you to tap away alternately as fast as you could to build up speed. In this game you franticallt tap the touchscrren so that Mater can go fast enough to reach the moon. Fun, but again a bit tedious after 5 minutes play!
There are 4 pison cup races in total. The gameplay again consists of a very dull vertical scrolling racetrack, requiring you only to move left and right (yawn). Occasionaly, you have a pit stop, which requires you to tap the wheel nuts as quickly as you can to change the tyre.
The multiplayer provision is very poor. Firstly, because only piston cup is available, and secondly, because both players need their own version of the game in their DS in order to play. As we only have one copy, we cannot access multiplayer, which I am very miffed about, as we have other racing games, like Mario Kart, which only require one gamecard between two or more players.
As you can see from my description of the game, this game bears little resemblance to Amazon's claims, and I think they may be decribing a completely different game, as they claim that the game has 50 tracks and contains voice talent from the movie, including Owen Wilson. This simply is not true, and the game contains no verbal dialogue at all. All dialogue has to be read off the screen. All three of my kids are disappointed with the game, as they said it was not what they expected, and I would have expected better from a game that associates itself with Pixar and Disney, which are usually synonymous with high quality products. To me, this looks like a quickly cobbled together game, with unimpressive graphics, considering it is from Pixar, mediocre music, and very tedious, repetitive gameplay, which does not give you the incentive to play for long.
From the look of the game, I would have thought it was aimed at kids between 4 and 9 years old, but many of the games are much too difficult and fiddly for young kids to play. They are also very bring, offering no reward when you do complete them apart from displaying the words "You Win" after you have trawled through 10 very similar, repetitive levels of each minigame.
Part of my problem with this game, was the way that it was advertised on Amazon, making claims, which were blatantly false. To be honest though, I would have still bought it if it had been described as a minigame collection, but have expected much better games for my money. This game is currently retailing for £38 on Amazon, which I find very expensive for what it is. It is, in my opinion only worth about £12.
Many people will buy this game expecting a racing game, but the only racing in this game is very simple vertical scrolling, which is tedious and not at all exciting. My kids rarely play this game, and when they do, it is only for about 10 minutes, which is unusual for them as they are usually glued to games for the DS. Cars for the DS has failed to recognise it's target market, and the resulting game is a poor minigame collection with limited longevity.
On my quest to find some games for my twins DS for Christmas I have been trying them out to see what I think they will enjoy this year.
One of the many games I've bought is Disney Cars, which is suitable for children aged 3 years plus.
This game is not a story mode game, it is actually a few short games, which you can keep coming back to when you unlock new levels to play the 'harder' levels of that particular game.
When you first begin the game you start with just a few of the Disney cars characters. Each car character opens up a new game to play, however you have to complete the levels available on each game to be able to open new games and characters to play.
Each game differs greatly, some being more entertaining fun than others and some involving more hard work or concentration to actually play them.
The first game you are able to play I will use as an example, for this game you play as Snot Rod, you are driving along the highway with the Sheriff not far behind. You have to drive through 5 levels of the highway avoiding vehicles, traffic cones, moving cars and oil spills even when Snot Rod has done one of his almighty sneezes which gives you a sudden speed boost and sends you shooting up the highway. You also have to keep an eye out for your 'pals' who are also shooting up the highway who decide at the last minute which lane they want to drive through and if their flashing arrow decides to land on your lane you have to move sharpish otherwise they will smash right into the back of you making you lose a life. The only way of controlling Snot Rods movements is buy using the stylus to tap the screen, you have to tap the lane you want Snot Rod to drive in or move into obviously trying to avoid obstacles. As soon as you touch one of the obstacles you use a life. Each level does get a little harder, and the last section of the last level is the most difficult as it seems as if the screen is just full of vehicles that you have no way of avoiding. This game can become a little repetitive, and so annoying and frustrating when you keep hitting vehicles, especially during the speed boosts, but it is one of the easiest games control wise.
One of the more 'boring' games you can play you play as Guida, tyres have been knocked down and you have to rebuild the pile. You do this by using the stylus to flick the tyres up onto the pile and hoping they land on top and stay there. However you do have to keep an eye on wind direction as the tyre pile will move meaning you have to flick the tyres in different places. There is again five levels to this game, and you have to pile a certain number of tyres each time, and this doesn't half become a little tedious.
These are just two games that are available to play out of about 12 games. Each game varies in what controls you have to use to play them as well as their paces. There is a racing game to play which is probably the most fast paced game and probably not the easiest either. You can fish for items, fill up fuel tanks, retrieve trophies on a highway from a moving Mac or you can even follow the sequence in coloured traffic lights.
Although each game differs in pace and the activities you do are different overall this game is fairly slow paced. You can play it at any speed that suits you, so for a younger child this would make it a little easier. You can return to games that you have played already but this means just repeating levels you've played, but again this could be good for a younger child to get used to each game. A child aged 6 plus I'd say would actually enjoy these games more, they would have more understanding of each game and would be able to meet the targets in the allotted time scales for some of the games no problem. The stylus is used a lot for some of the games and an older child would use one of these better for what they are actually needed for in the games. This is just a 'kids' game, short and mini games with simple tasks really, nothing too difficult and games which can be played and enjoyed at the same time. I wouldn't say each game is fun, in fact some of them are quite repetitive and dull such as remembering a traffic light sequence or boombox sound patterns, these for me are not 'fun'.
The graphics are really good and the pictures are colourful and bright, looking exactly like Disney Cars themselves, so for a younger child this would be really interesting and enjoyable. I'd certainly say it is an OK game to play, not one to rush out and buy though as play is limited, I do prefer story mode games as they have more to them in my opinion rather than just short and sweet 'activities' to play or do. This game is mostly appealing as it is Disney Cars and you can play as various character but apart from this it doesn't offer a lot of 'play' as such.
This is a collection of mini games you need to complete using the skills of the stylus and microphone, similar to "Wario World". The games are loosely based on memorable scenes within the film such as tractor tipping and backward driving. Each game features different characters from the film "Cars" with their own storyline to tell. Every time you complete a game, a new character arrives with a new challenge for you (detailed below). After you have successfully finished 3 characters challenges, Mac arrives and it's off the piston cup race. Here you must race against Chick and win in order to unlock the next 3 character.
The start up screen music genre I would describe as rock. You have your drum beat, which is catchy with an occasional symbol thrown in the mix. The rhythm of the guitar almost reminds me of Aerosmith's songs, which I like. Each characters graphics is superb, especially Mater (you can make out all the rust on his bodywork). The game has captured the facial expressions of all our favourite characters. From the stoned eyes of Fillmore to the doe eyes of sally. The almost dense, dim-witted expression on the tractor's face is by far the best design and captures the whole essence of the tractors in the film. You have 12 characters in total to unlock.
1) World best backwards driver: - featuring Mater
Mater reckons he is the world best backwards driver and bets that he could build up enough speed to jump to the moon. In order to build up speed you need to tap the touch screen left and right quickly. The faster you tap, the more speed you build and the higher you can jump. The object of the game is to collect as many stars as you can whilst Mater soars through the air.
This is an extremely easy mini game. As long as you tap left and right quick enough you can effortlessly collect the stars you require to complete the level. The graphics of the stars are simplistic in design, just a tiny twinkling dot. Whereas the graphics of Mater are brilliant, appearing just like he does in the film, with his cheesy grin. The music in the background is a funky banjo playing. At first the tune is tolerable but it does start to get on your nerves as it is quite repetitive. As you gather the stars you hear a high pitched piano sounds, sometimes so high pitched it actually hurts my ears.
2) Tractor tipping:- featuring Mater, Lightning and Frank
I love tractor tipping in the film so I really like the idea of tipping my own tractors, just as long as Frank doesn't catch you. In order to tip the tractors you need to use your control pad to accelerate and brake, whilst using the touch screen to steer. As you get close to the tractors, you blow into the microphone to wake them up. Not too hard thou as you will attract Frank and he will chase you.
I like the structure of this mini game. It incorporates the control pad, microphone and stylus all at once. It's a quite difficult task to complete. The graphic are quite amusing especially when the tractors tip over. Your view point is an aerial shot of the field. On the top screen you can see where frank is hiding. I love the icon used for Frank, a little orange square with eyes dancing from left to right. As for the background noise you can hear some annoying cricket noises. Leave this on and it's a form of torture. As you blow into the microphone you hear Mater's horn. I love the sound of the tractors tipping as they moo, just like the film.
3) Ramone style:- Featuring Ramone and DJ
DJ is Ramone's cousin who has come to visit and challenges Ramone to jam to the beat. This is type of Simon say's type of game. You need to listen to the beat then use your stylus to repeat the same pattern. You have 5 speakers to tap.
You really need to use the sound for this game so you can get a feel for the timing of the beat. I love that if you get the beat incorrect, you hear a sound like a record being scratched backwards. This adds to whole DJ feel to this game. The music behind the beat is almost a type of hip hop, you will find yourself almost dancing to the beat. The graphics are pretty simple. You are presented with a screen looking like a retro jukebox. You can imagine somewhere at one of these car meeting (where they pimp their rides) having this inside their boot. You know the type of people that have a blue light underneath their cars. All that aside, it is still just a "repeat the pattern" game, which I find very dull entertainment.
4) Casa Della Tires:- Featuring Guida
After the tractors have knocked down the tyre stack, you need to help rebuild it. You need to use your stylus to flick the tires on top each other, taking care to watch the wind speed and direction
This is the most difficult game to complete. It takes perfect timing (a quality I don't possess) and just the right amount of flick to get the tyres to balance. The background music is a stereo-typical tasteless "Godfather" type Italian music. This is very annoying but it is fitting as you are controlling Guida, who is Italian. As you toss your tire, you will hear a realistic swishing sound. The background graphic to this mini game is stunning, the best scenery in the whole game. Just behind the tyre shop, you can see the majestic mountains and a beautiful sunset. It almost looks photographic. I wish I was there, believe me.
5) Fishin' Mater:- featuring Mater and the sheriff.
Mater is helping the sheriff to fish out all the junk from the river. Pull Mater's hook using the touch screen, aim then release to cast.
Why is it whenever the game features Mater you have to listen to some cliché banjo tune? In the background you can hear the realistic flow of the river, almost makes you want to pee. The graphics of the game are crude, but they work. You would almost believe the water is actually flowing across the top screen. As for the game play, this is an easy game to complete and boring. The only challenge is to make sure you don't wind the crank too fast. It is missing something to avoid as you wind in your rubbish. A crocodile would be nice.
6) Highway Hassle: featuring Mac
Mac is feeling asleep whilst driving down the interstate, unaware that he is losing all of Lightning's trophies out of the back. You must grab and sort the different coloured trophies into the matching coloured corners.
This game has my favourite background music. Ok I am Biased as I love Rock music. At first the game play is very simple as the colour corners don't change. It's when the colour constantly change that this game gets interesting. You are almost frantic to get the trophies into the correct corner. This graphics of the mini-game are disappointing, not very interesting at all. All you get is a road with 3 lanes and Mac is so far away in the distance that he looks like a micro machine. The trophies are just colour blocks and nothing else.
7) Gesundheit: Featuring Snot Rod
The sheriff has decided to chase the hot rods out of radiator spring for good. Avoid hitting cars by changing lanes and keep an eye on the sheriff behind you.
Although the game play is very straightforward, it can be quite entertaining for a while. As the levels progress you soon find yourself getting fed up, due to the lack of challenge. The music is a simple repetitive drum beat with a harmonica solo, not much else. It does have a slight "Smokey and the Bandit" feel to it. As for the graphics, pretty much the same as Highway Hassle.
8) Flo's V8 Cafe: Featuring all cars from the film.
Customers have finally come to Flo's Cafe, and there are lots of them. You need to rub each car to fill them with fuel.
The background music is a mixture of bass guitar strumming about 3 chords repeatedly, with a simple drum and symbol beat. When the keyboard melody kicks in, then it's a mixture of Rock and Blues. The graphics feature all the cars in the Pixar film. As they drive up to the fuelling station, you are alerted by a bell. Just like you hear in a Retro cafe/fuelling station in American films. You could almost imagine a cafe full of truckers, stuffing burgers in their faces. As the level increase more cars appear, and can get quite hectic. After you finish this level, you feel like you have done a hard days work and need to put your feet up (or should I say Fingers).
9) That Blinkin' Light: Featuring Fillmore and Sarge
Fillmore is convinced that there is a pattern to the traffic light. Follow the sequence of the flashing lights
Yet another "follow me" game. I stopped liking these games when I was 5. They have no entertainment value for me. The background noise is those irritating crickets again. On the screen you have a huge traffic light with 6 lights. The traffic light is not much to look at, but the detail in Sarge and Fillmore is fantastic, you can clearly see the Volkswagen logo on the front. The only reason I played this dull game is I need to unlock the other characters. Given the choice I would avoid.
10) The Drive-In : featuring Lightning and Sally
Sally and Lightning are on a date at the cinema. Lightning has gone for refreshments and need to navigate his way back. Using the touch screen you need to move various cars to open a path
The style of the game is a logic problem and my favourite challenge (I do like my logic). Finally a game to test your mind and not your skill with the stylus. The problem is similar to those slide pictures with a tile missing. Each car can only move in a certain direction. The detail of the cars is basic, as they blink their eyes up at you. I would leave the sound off as the infuriating crickets have returned. I think they must have a plague at radiator springs. How is anybody supposed to enjoy the movie with that entire racket in the background?
Ramone is showing off his new hydraulics and how high he can jump. Bounce Ramone with the stylus to make him jump higher.
This is all a test of your timing as you need to tap Ramone just at the right time. This took quite a few practices for me to get the right technique. As you would expect the music is hip hop style with scratching records and a simple beat in the background. This didn't make me feel like dancing like "Ramone style". The body art on Ramone is awesome, a flame running down the side. When he jumps higher you can see his new Hydraulics underneath his wheels. The scenery in the background is another breathtaking view of the canyon.
Lightning has been challenged by Mater to a race backwards around Willys Butte. You need steer using the control pad, avoid obstacles and stay ahead of Mater.
This is very tricky, since you are racing backwards you need to remember the controls are opposite i.e. right for left, left for right. I kept forgetting and ended up bumping into everything. It takes a while to get the hang of it. I would imagine this could seriously confuse a young child. Another fast banjo playing melody. Don't expect anything good like the "Duelling Banjos" from "Deliverance", it's more like "The Beverly Hill billies".
Most people may find this game a bit on the childish side, as the game is designed for the younger generation. Since I have a Peter Pan complex and will never grow up I actually liked some parts of this game. My favourite mini game is buy far "Tractor Tipping". I just love to knock them down. I just wished they hadn't put the bothersome cricket noises as I love to hear the tractor's moo as I knock them down. By far the hardest challenge was "Casa Della Tires". It took me ages to complete. The dumbest games were "Ramone style" and "That Blinkin' light". I don't find "copy me" games entertaining at all. As for the background music, there are various styles of music to suit most tastes. As suggested above my favourite styles of music is Rock, but I couldn't help dancing to the hip hop beat of Ramone. I found it helped me focus on the rhythm. The graphics are true to the Pixar movie "Cars" and some of the scenery involved is stunning.
Race to the finish line as you live all the fun and excitement of the next Walt Disney Pictures presentation of a Pixar Animation Studios film Cars. Play as all your favourite characters as you help Lightening McQueen capture the coveted Piston Cup Championship.