A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cars 2 AppMATes is a free driving simulation game designed to work with the physical AppMATes toys. The app can be played without them, but loses some of the interactivity. While there are no in-app purchases, parents should be aware that the Disney Cars theme means that the app is linked to a lot of other merchandise, and there are links in the game to other Disney Mobile apps. There is some cartoon violence as the cars can be driven into structures and objects that crash, but there isn't other violence involving the cars themselves.
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Is it any good?
The CARS 2 APPMATES is two things in one: a free app and a set of toys (purchased separately) shaped like various characters from the Cars 2 movie. The app allows kids to drive around the fictional town of Radiator Springs, participating in races and doing short "missions" for some of the other characters in town. Winning races and completing missions earns hubcaps, which can then be spent on buying things like new tires, horns, and accessories for the cars.
Although the app can be played without the toys using a "paper toy" version of Lightning McQueen, it really shines when paired with the toys. They are placed on the iPad screen, and the landscape moves beneath the toys, making it feel like the toy car is really in the world. The onscreen graphics and sounds coordinate with the toy with great results. The only problem is that sometimes if the connection is weak then the iPad doesn't detect the toy, which breaks the spell as you try to get the connection back.
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