A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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.
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Racers occasionally goad and taunt one another, but not in any really malicious ways.
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Products & Purchases
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.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.