It may well be that the Cars franchise from Pixar have a huge following amongst the younger grease monkeys out there, but for some reason they just didn’t deserve to get a PSP version of the Cars 2 tie-in game when the movie was doing the rounds earlier this year. Until now, that is. Now PSP owners can enjoy the further adventures of Lightning McQueen, Mater and all of the other colourful characters. Is that a good thing?
It would seem that the gang of talking cars are messing around with the C.H.R.O.M.E. simulation machine which create virtual environments for them to go on missions in. Story-wise, there really is very little going on and the game doesn’t follow the plot of the movie in any way. Instead, the player is left with a collection of missions tat come in the form of different types of races. Given the subject matter and the intended audience, that’s no real loss.
The intended audience becomes very apparent when you first start playing the game, if there was any doubt before. This game is aimed at young children, specifically fans of Lightning McQueen and friends. To that end, older and more experienced players will find themselves unimpressed with the simple gameplay and the lack of depth. But then that may be there own fault for buying a game that is aimed at kids.
The actual gameplay is very simple, ideal for that younger audience. The majority of the game will be spent racing, which takes on a slot-racing style. Players accelerate using the right shoulder button and swap lanes by pressing left or right, either with the buttons or thusing the analogue stick. There is no steering as such, just lane swapping to avoid obstacles. Players can also jump with the triangle button or boost, once they have collected enough fuel, using the circle button. For the most part, that is all the player has to do.
The majority of races and events will require the player to come first or finish in a certain amount of time. As the tracks are fairly winding and littered with debris or walls, the player will find themselves learning the track first in order to achieve a decent time or placing. This may not be necessary were it not for the somewhat annoying camera, which seems to float around the players car at all different angles, sometimes giving a view from the front, sometimes from the back and sometimes from the side. This creates some major issues when it comes to getting in the right lane to avoid oncoming obstacles, resulting in slightly unfair feeling crashes. But once the player has learnt the track, it is quite easy to get around without crashing and the player can concentrate on collecting fuel cans to boost.
Along with the races and time attacks, players get to take part in some more aggressive road based missions. In these missions the player will pick up Kart racing style weapons and defensive items that can be used with the X button, either to take out other cars in a race or perform some other objective. Using the items is fairly fun and adds variety to what is otherwise a very basic game.
Considering how basic the game is, and how easy it is to play, it will come as no surprise to find that the visuals are also aimed at the younger audience. Don’t get me wrong, everything is very crisp and sharp, looking especially good on the gorgeous PSP screen. But in a true Pixar manner, the animation is colourful and bright, designed to please the younger eyes. If you have played any other Disney Pixar game, then you will know what to expect and won’t be disappointed.
The majority of gamers will find Cars 2 to be shallow and not worth their time, and that is how it should be. Cars 2 is aimed at a very specific audience of youthful fans of the movie. For those fans, the game works incredibly well and, with a good selection of different events, a freeplay mode and multiplayer, there is plenty here to keep them busy. All of the characters from the movies are here to be unlocked, further lengthening the game time.
Cars 2 is a very basic game, but it looks great and plays easily, making it the perfect game for young fans of the movie. Anyone with gaming experience, or who doesn’t especially like the movie, should keep on walking as this is not the game for them.