Growing up with the Cars films was a joy. Watching them and then hassling my mum and dad to buy me the video game was something I will always remember. Who knew that ten years later I would be playing the Cars 3 video game and the third instalment of the film would be a reality. Saying that however, the games have not changed much over the years. They are simple racing games made for the younger audience, but somehow If found a little arcade love for it during my time as I am a huge sucker for arcade racer anything.
Cars 3: Driven to Win is the direct film to video game adaption of the series and it even plays pretty well through the film's locations. While the film follows the story of Lighting McQueen, the game, on the other hand, does not force you into any specific bubble, rather you can select one of the many characters available in the series to play with. There is a wide selection of characters to choose from of which provide no additional boost in performance at all. They are the same racing experience in a different shell. Still, my niece loved changing characters after every race as she wanted to see them all in action, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Given that the game is an arcade-styled racer, you can expect the same gameplay here too. Racing is pretty simple to master as you accelerate, boost with a nitro-like substance obtained by pulling off stunts and tricks, and you can even turn around and drive backwards to earn more boost. Driving backwards is pretty tough as it inverts your movement, but luckily you only do it at specific parts that do not have tight turns to deal with.
You can also drift around corners to earn boost, and for those younger players who might find this difficult, you can turn on an auto boost toggle that lets the game do it for you.
The tracks are littered with boost ramps and various fences to knock down that give you some sort of entertainment while racing, but in general, the tracks are all pretty great to experience a couple of times. Bright, vibrant colours add the Pixar look to the game, and the dialogue from the cars while racing breaks the silence too.
The game, in general, is very easy and the lowest difficulty was probably the best for my niece, who is not that great at racers. As bad as she was, she still managed to get 9th place or so, which is a sign of just how easy the A.I can be if you turn the difficulty down. The racing is simple enough for the younger players to master and with the added drift autopilot, it gets even easier.
There are a handful of tracks to race through in the game and the more you play through each new one, the more unlocks. There are also battle races which give you weapon pickups like rockets and similar items to toss at enemies, but this is a separate mode, so only if you are looking for trouble do you enter it. There is also Time Trial to give yourself a test run of a track and other expected racing modes to experience.
The most interesting feature in the game has to be the unlock system that relies on you doing specific actions in the race to unlock nodes on a board. Each node has a reward like a new track or even a new character to race with. None of these challenges
The game has no online play at all, but since it aims for the younger audience, this makes sense. There is a local split screen mode, which is great and for me pays tribute to the older kart arcade racing games of the day. This lack of online mode was not an issue at all for me, as I just enjoyed the single-player mode and playing split screen with my niece.
Cars 3: Driven to Win is a great arcade kart racer that you might enjoy, but the kids will love it for sure. Its wide selection of tracks and modes will keep them busy for a long time and its light tone will make sure they are entertained and force you to head out to the movies to watch the film. This is one of the better films to video game adaptions. It is not the best, but it is great.