DreamWorks Super Star Kartz

Common Sense Media says

Mediocre racing game features Shrek, Donkey, and friends.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game focuses exclusively on kart racing and does not provide players with a cohesive background storyline. As a result, there is little in the way of positive messages, and in fact there is a sense of unsportsmanlike content with the variety of weapons players can use against their opponents. While these weapons are largely tame in nature, they are a focal point of the game.

Positive role models

This game features heroic characters from several Dreamworks movies including Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, and Monsters vs. Aliens. These characters are well known for being positive role models, though their altruistic and heroic characteristics that were so prominent in their respective movies does not really translate in this game.

Ease of play

The controls in this game are very intuitive and user-friendly. There are no nuances or advanced control mechanics to learn. The challenge comes in playing through each track enough times to know when to turn, maneuver around obstacles, and speed through faster than the other racers.

Violence & scariness

Fitting in with the zany, cartoon nature of this game, there are numerous "weapons" that players can equip during races. These weapons include projectiles that cause opponents to spin out, electrical blasts, and other items that result in brief explosions. The worst effect any of these weapons have is to slow down opponents or make them immobile for a short period of time.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game features characters from a variety of Dreamworks animated movies, all of which have been widely commercialized in the form of toys, games, and all sorts of other products.

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Dreamworks Super Star Kartz is a casual racing game featuring characters from such popular Dreamworks films as Madagascar, Shrek, and How to Train Your Dragon. Players zoom through winding race tracks based on locations from the various animated movies in the hopes of being the first to cross the finish line. A large factor in winning a race depends on players using various power-ups, or "weapons," to gain an edge on their opponents. These weapons include explosions, bursts of electricity, and other zany obstacles, but these actions never result in anything more than making an opponent immobile for a few seconds.

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What's it about?

DREAMWORKS SUPER STAR KARTZ has very little in the way of a cohesive storyline. Instead, the game focuses exclusively on quick, casual racing gameplay. Players can load the game and start racing against their friends in a matter of minutes. A strong line-up of characters from some of the best-selling Dreamworks movie franchises are available, including Shrek, Donkey, Alex the Lion, the Madagascar penguins, Monsters vs. Alien's \"B.O.B.,\" and the famous dragon trainer Hiccup. Each track location is based on a scene or environment from the same movies. It is branded very heavily with Dreamworks content, which is the biggest feature of the game. In addition to standard kart races, there is also a head-to-head \"Battle Mode,\" which focuses on using power-ups and items to remove players from the field.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

On its face, Dreamworks Super Star Kartz is nothing more than a kart racing game that meets all the requisite components of the genre. That is, there are several characters to choose from; the race tracks are vibrant, colorful, and full of twists and turns; and there is a selection of power-ups and weapons to add a soupcon of strategy and loads of zaniness to the experience. In addition, there is a Battle Mode that takes away the racing element and instead focuses exclusively on the power-ups to see who has the best offensive and defensive strategies. It is the same formula that has been seen time and time again and there is nothing here to differentiate itself from any other themed kart-racing titles. Because of the heavily branded Dreamworks content, fans of movies like Shrek and Madagascar will find something to enjoy here, but it is best looked at as a piece of Dreamworks merchandise and not a stellar game in its own right.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the weapons in this game. What is the impact of having weapons appear in the game?

  • What is your favorite Dreamworks character and why?

  • This game features characters known to be strong and heroic. Do you think the game does a good job at demonstrating these positive traits?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS
Price:$29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Activision
Release date:November 15, 2011
Genre:Racing
Topics:Fairy tales
ESRB rating:E for Mild Cartoon Violence (Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

This review of DreamWorks Super Star Kartz was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

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  • 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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