* Prices may differ from that shown
Maters tall tales Wii game is based on the spin off TV show from the main movies. Mater dreams up a number of tall tales in this series where he is the star of the show. It has proved to be a big hit with my children and there is lots of merchandise and separate cars that only feature in this miniseries that shows on Disney Junior. The cars that feature in this game all relate to the series rather than any of the cars films.
The game promised to have over 30 games which is true as there are around 30 levels, but a lot of these are just race tracks with different themes. I would not have said they are different games just levels but even so there is a fair amount of variety. You have your usual races where you need to aim to come first, and then you have other races where you have to collect things along the tracks which provide a little extra challenge. It is not your usual racing game, but something a little different for cars fans.
My son's favourites are the story related games. Using tall tales from the TV show there are different mini games based on each tall story. For example in one game we are Mater the fire engine saving the day. You have to collect things falling from the falling window from a burning house. Or next you can be Mater the dare devil. In this game you have to elevate yourself to the very top of the tallest tower and perform stunts through loops. There are a number of these games including Mater the UFO which is one of my son's favourites.
There is enough variety to keep a young child as they can swap between a number of different games. This is perfect for the target age range as sometimes their concentration levels can be very limited. Graphics are actually really good for a child's game, and there is certainly enough detail and design to keep a young child happy. While there is no real educational value it does promote your child to count up their coins and learn about buying things with these coins. Also the hand eye co ordination it takes to take part in the games is great. The controls change with each game and relate to the story in play. This means it breaks up the games by making them unique from the one before, which both gets little one moving around but also thinking about what they are doing.
While the games are pick up and play so you can revisit any level at any time, as with all video games there is a chance to progress. When you complete each level you are awarded coins depending on how well you do. Then with these coins they can head to the garage and buy different parts for their cars. They can repaint them, add body kits or change the tyres. There is so much to do and this I have to say is my five year olds favourite part of the game. He spends most of his time in the garage changing his car to perform better in the race. It can be changed as many times as you coins allow so it really sets a target for them to do well in the races and games. While there are only a few simple changes to be made, there is certainly enough to keep a five year old happy.
Also there is a trophy cabinet also located in the garage. You can check what needs to be done to achieve these trophies like tricks, high scores and combos, so it adds a little more depth and meaning to the game. Finally as with most games you unlock different levels as you progress along the game. This again relates to the trophies, so you can check what trophies you need to collect for certain levels and it gives them a target to unlock the different levels they want to play. Difficulty ranges from easy races and mini games to more difficult ones. Again this keeps your child working hard at completing each level.
We found that navigating the start menu can actually be very tricky as it is broken down into a number of different sections depending on what type of game you would like to play. My son can do this independently now but it took him a little while to grasp it. The rest of the game fairs a lot better. Each mini game has different controls but these are very easy for little one to learn. This also means that it holds their attention, as they have to do different things with the remote each time to make the vehicle move correctly. There are some games where you have to jump up and down, others where you just need to turn the remote and others where you have to shake the remote as hard as you can. We do find the racing games seem to be very sensitive, and the slightest movement turns the car quickly. This takes some getting used to but again it just encourages hand eye co ordination.
The game makes sure it introduces a range of characters so if Mater is not your child's favourite they can still enjoy it. The music can become very annoying as it is repetitive. Also the phrases from Mater seem to be repeated every two seconds which for an adult is very annoying but it seems to appeal to my son. I like the way that the controls all relate to the game little one is playing. Depending on what the task is the control reflects that particular activity so it makes sense to the child. The instructions are mainly spoken aloud too, so even if your child is not the strongest reader they can still play. They do also put lengthy instructions on the screen to follow but as they are spoken first it suits both younger and older children.
I like that it has up to four players option for multi player and you can switch between cooperative play and competitive play. This means depending on the child they can choose a game that suits them and how they want to play. Longevity is good in the fact there are a good range of levels and variety, and you can choose between difficulties in levels. I do find that my son only plays for short periods of times as he becomes a little bored, but this is a good thing as I do not like them playing for lengthy periods anyway. For older children I do think it would become boring quickly and if they are not a cars fan then there is nothing overly special about this game compared to similar ones on the market.
I think this game is perfect for young children maybe between five and seven years old. It is based on the tall tales miniseries shown on Disney junior, and for that reason it would be best if your child is familiar with this. It is perfect for children that love Mater as he is the star of this game, but it is careful to include lightning McQueen and others from the films to keep any cars fan interested. The mini games are what are most enjoyed for us, but the other racing games are still fun for short periods. What I really like is it is a pick up and go game. The levels are short, and this means it is perfect for short periods of use so there is no arguing trying to pull little one away. I do think it may be a little bit simple for older children, but for my five year old son it is the best game ever. At around £17 at Amazon it is not overly expensive, and despite being a few years old now it is still widely available.