Madagascar Kartz

Common Sense Media says

Amiable movie tie-in racer offers chaotic fun and laughs.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There aren't many messages to speak of in the game, but Gloria the hippo frequently makes remarks about her own large size (e.g., "throwing my weight around"). As in the movies, her character seems based almost entirely around being heavy.The penguins slap each other in the face when they lose, but it is meant to be funny.

Positive role models

As in many racing game, the driving on display is not exactly safe. Racers are encouraged to sabotage opponents to get ahead.

Ease of play

Play control is relatively simple on all systems, but exceptionally so on the Wii version, where steering is handled with mere tilts of the remote.

Violence & scariness

Racers can impede one another's vehicles in cartoony ways, such as tossing beehives or spiders at them, leaving bombs on the road, or sending a giant shark chomping its way along the course. The team of penguins that drive one of the karts will sometimes slap one another across the face when they lose a race.

Language

Racers occasionally goad and taunt one another, but not in any really  malicious ways.

Consumerism

Aside from the obvious tie to the Madagascar movies, characters and setting from other Dreamworks films (Shrek and Monsters vs. Aliens) are also featured. The Wii version can be bought along with a custom Madagascar steering wheel for the controller to fit into. The controller comes with Madagascar logo decals for decorating.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this amusing racing game provides a relatively harmless way for young fans of the Madagascar movies (or Shrek or Monsters vs. Aliens) to enjoy playing with some favorite film characters. The humor in the game is far less coarse than that in the movies and the cartoonish violence -- which comes in the form of outrageous booby traps for opponents -- never rises to the level of even the mildest Tom & Jerry skit.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's it about?

MADAGASCAR KARTZ is a racing game in the tradition of Mario Kart. Cartoon animals from the movie Madagascar race each other in suped-up vehicles through landscapes such as a tropical beach, an African savanna, a volcano, and a New York zoo. Along the way, racers can use silly power-ups to either get ahead or sabotage their opponents. Some power-ups include a giant protective crate that surrounds the players car and a disco ball that causes opposing drivers to dance and makes steering more difficult for them. You can unlock the bonus characters from the Shrek and Monsters vs. Aliens.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Anyone who has played the Mario Kart games will know exactly what they're in for with Madagascar Kartz as well. Fans of one will enjoy the other. Madagascar Kartz benefits from appealing graphics, easy-to-use controls, and some creatively humorous power-ups. On the negative side, the number of racers -- and worse, the number of courses -- feels far too small. Racing games are built on replay value and without more variety, this one may soon lose its luster with many kids. Like many racing game, Madagascar Kartz works best in multiplayer and will serve best as a party game for groups.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about good sportsmanship. Is it ever okay to taunt or tease an opponent?

  • How are traps and cheats in a game like this different from cheating in a game or race in real life?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
Price:$19.99–$39.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Activision
Release date:October 27, 2009
Genre:Racing
ESRB rating:E for Comic Mischief (Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

This review of Madagascar Kartz was written by

About our rating system

  • 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

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay 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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Parent of a 7 year old Written bylabced501 July 31, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Good to learn about video games

As a first game my 7yo took a little while to learn how to steer. But if every driver on the road was as good as she is after a few tries, we'd all be safer.
Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written byGamingDaddy November 2, 2009
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

A fun game for 5 and up

Really enjoying playing this with my son and daughter they are 5 and 7 years old and like the characters more than Mario Kart. The penguins are our favorite.

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