Parents' Guide to

FlatOut 4: Total Insanity

By Paul Semel, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Entertaining, flawed, cartoonishly violent arcade racer.

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Though not for serious gearheads, this arcade-style racer will appeal to fans of this series and those looking for an over-the-top Sunday drive ... for a while. In FlatOut 4: Total Insanity, players have to drive twisty and hazardous tracks with multiple pathways. But instead of driving sports cars on city streets or precision motor vehicles on closed tracks, this has you driving junkers around a petrochemical plant, through a logging camp, and on some dusty desert trails. You're also encouraged to try to knock out your opponents by crashing into them, which you can also do in the game's demolition derby mode.

What sets this apart is that when you crash, you can hit a button to send your driver flying through the windshield like a rag doll. During races, this merely works as comedy. Or maybe tragedy. But the game also includes events, played solo or with friends, where you use the ejector seat to do stunts for style points. But like so much in this game, these events get a bit mundane after a while. There also are race events where the cars come equipped with weapons, but since they're not earned, recharge rather quickly, and are overpowered, they make this mode more of a mess than a challenge. Add in some wonky physics and a bunch of technical problems that sometimes slow the action to a crawl, and you'll understand why FlatOut 4: Total Insanity is also partially frustrating.

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