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Cars Race-O-Rama review: Cars Race-O-Rama

Cars Race-O-Rama is a terribly generic racer aimed at the younger crowd. It's neither great nor awful, just absolutely middle-of-the-road gaming.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
2 min read

Cars Race-O-Rama is one of those games that sums itself up very neatly in its title. It's about Cars. In this case, it's the ageing gracefully Pixar vehicles themselves, although this isn't so much a movie tie-in, what with Cars 2 being a good couple of years away and is instead more of a spin-off with, as you might expect, a strong racing theme.


Cars Race-O-Rama

The Good

Gets the Cars look right. Not too challenging for younger players.

The Bad

Very generic racing style. Semi-sandbox style can be confusing for younger players.

The Bottom Line

Cars Race-O-Rama is a terribly generic racer aimed at the younger crowd. It's neither great nor awful, just absolutely middle-of-the-road gaming.

Race-O-Rama starts with the return of Chick Hicks and a crew of fairly generic "evil" cars, all of whom you must beat in a series of races to complete what passes for the plot. Race-O-Rama is a semi-sandbox game, meaning that for sections of the game you drive around finding new race challenges to overcome, but it's a sandbox really in name only. You're racing around on very fixed tracks indeed with small gaps in between each race. There's not much in the way of free choice, and because there's really nothing between each race but loading times, we're struck with the thought that a straight up menu would have been a better choice for the developers. The children we tested the game with were well within Cars' clear demographic, but struggled to grasp driving to the next challenge where a menu would have worked much more clearly.

As with Cars the movie — and the other Cars games — it's all rather gleefully aimed at the younger crowd with lots of bright colourful visuals, but not quite as much actual character as the original source material. That's a curse that many movie tie-in games suffer from. In the case of games designed for a younger audience that might not be too much of a problem at a player level, but if you're parenting by guiding your kids through the game you'll find it a bit more tiresome (or should that be tyresome?) than just watching the film again.

The actual racing in the game is never terribly challenging, but that's somewhat acceptable for the target market. Vehicles handle in predictable ways, and most races come down to not crashing into walls enough for it to make a huge difference, and then using turbo boosts as they recharge. The game's sub-quests (and optional multiplayer) open up monster trucks, karts and other challenges, but nothing with a ton of depth.

It's hard to be terribly tough on Race-O-Rama, a game that's more generic and average than it is really bad in any appreciable way. Without a doubt if you want a racing game for the Xbox 360 — or the many other formats that Race-O-Rama is to be available for — you're spoilt for choice in theme, content and quality, and could very easily hit a dozen or more racers of greater quality than Race-O-Rama. If your house is beset with small people obsessed with Cars it'd work as an inoffensive gaming choice, but nothing more than that.