A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
As "tall tales," these stories that Mater tells about himself are highly dubious. The fib-telling isn't a good message, but in each of these stories Mater casts himself (and the players) as heroic figures who help others, so the overall feel of the game is a positive one. And there is always a little room left to believe that Mater's tales might actually be true.
Positive Role Models
As mentioned above, the cars who hear Mater's stories (like his friend, Lightning McQueen) think he's making them up. But his tales always have a positive message unto themselves and cast the players in heroic roles.
Ease of Play
The controls for each scene/mini-game are simplified so that young children can handle them with relative ease. The instructions for each game are presented in an easy-to-grasp visual format, so no reading is necessary.
Violence & Scariness
Some of the scenes have thrillingly dangerous moments, such as cars "bullfighting" tractors, jumping through flaming hoops, racing through crowded streets, etc. Very few actually require the player to be violent, but one mini-game puts cars in a boxing ring where they hit one another with their tires to score a K.O.
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Products & Purchases
This is a video game adaptation of a series of animated shorts from Disney/Pixar, which were, themselves, a spin-off from the movie Cars.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the plot to Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales is essentially one long running gag about fibbing. Mater's stories are so outrageous that no one believes him, but the players are given some room to wonder if he might be telling the truth. The games themselves feature some moments of danger that might be too intense for very young children, but on the whole they are quite kid-friendly.
Is It Any Good?
You might not expect much from a video game based on a cartoon based on a movie, but Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales is a fun and very well put together collection of mini-games for young kids. Experienced gamers might well think of the activities here as being too simple, but they're not really the intended audience. Young kids (and their parents) who are looking for an enjoyable, not-too-daunting gaming experience will get a major treat from this game. The thirty mini-games available here offer a load of variety and a surprising amount of originality. And the customization feature offers a very nice reward system -- doling out coins to all the players, not just the winner.
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