Cars: Mater-National Championship Game Poster Image

Cars: Mater-National Championship

(i)

 

Fun and accessible racing game for kids.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Fosters friendly competition between two players in the console editions and up to four players in the Nintendo DS version.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is inspired by Disney/Pixar's popular Cars movie, and features locations and characters seen in the film. It comes with a brochure from Mattel advertising dozens of toy cars that suggest kids "collect the whole gang." In-game advertising is present, but restricted to fictional brands, such as Lightyear Tires.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a kid's racing game based on the Disney/Pixar film Cars and that it feels quite commercial. Dozens of locations and characters from the film are featured in the game, and there is even a pamphlet from Mattel stuffed in the packaging that advertises toy cars from the movie. The game itself is polished and very accessible to kids, providing simple controls, plenty of guidance, and customizable skill levels. Kids of elementary school age ought to be able to play without encountering many problems.

Parents say

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What's it about?

CARS: MATER-NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP is the second game based on Disney/Pixar's popular animated movie Cars. Players drive around spacious levels looking for challenges, which are designated by floating icons in the environment. Many of the game's activities are basic races that take place on diverse courses with a healthy variety of jumps, obstacles, and tight corners, while others are better categorized as mini-games, like one in which the player engages in a game of tag with a computer controlled car. The game has excellent value thanks to a lengthy story mode that offers rewards for placing first in every challenge (which means players will spend plenty of time racing levels over again), multiple difficulty levels that range from extremely easy to surprisingly tough, and split-screen two-player racing.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

There's little not to like about Mater-National Championship. On the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 it approaches the same level of quality in animation that Pixar presented in the movie. Car models are loaded with details and lifelike reflections. They also emote in remarkably believable ways thanks to their wonderfully expressive eyes and mouths. But, most importantly, they're fun to drive. The controls are simple and responsive, and the (mostly) wide open courses are a pleasure to cruise through.

There's not much of a story in the main mode, but that matters little; you're provided a basic reason for each race and that's enough to motivate you to press your thumbs to the metal. Earning prizes such as new cars, paintjobs, and artwork when you're doing well is just the icing on the cake. Beware, though, that in order to unlock everything in the game you'll likely need to revisit a lot of events. Cars: Mater-National Championship is relatively easy to play and finish, but beating the game to perfection will take both skill and dedication.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the concept of a world populated only with living cars. Where would they come from? Who would make them? What would a car's home look like? They can also discuss the game's themes, which include competitive camaraderie and sportsmanship. How important is it to win? Have you ever allowed a friend to win a game you could have won to let him or her feel good about his or her performance?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2
Price:$39.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:THQ
Release date:October 29, 2007
Genre:Racing
ESRB rating:E

This review of Cars: Mater-National Championship was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old June 25, 2009

I like it

This is the best game ever!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byreviewgirl13 April 13, 2009

Great game for kids

Perfectly good game for kids. Actually, it's fun. You can play as different characters like Mater or Lightning Mcqueen and race, plus, there's mini games. There's no bad language. No violence. You basically race. Overall, a great game for young gamers.
Kid, 11 years old June 19, 2015

My favorite game!

I always remember myself being a fan of the Cars Franchise when I was 3. I even remembering myself playing this when I was 4. This game isn't violent at all. Fictitious brands appear, but it's not a problem. Very fun game.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use

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