Monster Racers

Game review by
Christopher Healy, Common Sense Media
Monster Racers Game Poster Image
Similar to Pokemon, but with racing instead of fighting.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

In a very positive-minded change from other similar games in the monster-collecting genre, players don't "capture" or "catch" wild creatures to get them on their team -- they "befriend" them. There's also a lot of good sportsmanship on display (with the exception of a couple of antagonists who are obviously not meant to be liked or looked up to).

Positive Role Models & Representations

While there are a few villain-ish bully characters who brag of their racing prowess and grouse when they are beaten, most of the characters in the game are congenial competitors who will congratulate one another on a race well run, whether they win or lose.

Ease of Play

The controls are very simple and easy to handle. And the game has a nice, smooth difficulty curve, becoming gradually more challenging from beginning to end.

Violence & Scariness

When racing monsters knock into each other, a bumping sound can be heard and the the creature on the receiving end of the bump is temporarily slowed down. On some courses, there are also "fireball" obstacles, which will cause the same "bump and stall" effect if your monster hits them.

Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Monster Racers is a nice nonviolent alternative to other monster-collection games, like Pokemon or Bakugan. Instead of  kids collecting and fighting monsters, in this game kids "befriend" them and then have a blast racing with them. Also, the storytelling in Monster Racers goes out of its way to make the point that the creatures being collected for competition love running races and are definitely not being forced to do so. Parents should also be aware, though, that Monster Racers allows for online multiplayer games via WiFi, as well as local wireless play against others who have a DS.

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What's it about?

In MONSTER RACERS, players enter a world inhabited by diverse mystical creatures, all of who enjoy nothing more than zipping past one another on race courses. In this land of competitive, fast-paced beasts, racing has become the most popular sport around. As a rookie monster racer, you travel the world, befriending creatures that may join your team, racing against wild monsters for practice, and entering a series of international tournaments that will determine a world champion. Playing as either a boy or girl racer, you will meet lots of friendly competitors as well as a few bragging bullies who'll need to be bested. Special items that can be found or bought can be used to upgrade or personailze your monsters.

Is it any good?

Fans of monster-collection games like Pokemon will almost certainly love Monster Racers as well. The role-playing element of both games is incredibly similar. But the gameplay mechanic of Monster Racers is completely different, based more on skill than strategy (although there is definitely a strategic element in choosing which creatures to enter into which races). The competition aspect of Monster Racers is much more hands-on and interactive than the mostly-automated combat of Pokemon-type games. This is a factor that should make Monster Racers appeal to fans of platformers and regular racing games as well. Overall, it's refreshing to see the monster-collection concept laid over a new and different style of video game. Plus, the game is very fun and likeable to boot.

Online interaction: Players can enter 4-person multiplayer races via WiFi connection. There is no chatting involved, but the possibility always exists that an online player will use an offensive or inappropriate nickname. DS owners can also race each other locally through a non-Internet wireless connection.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Monster Racers is similar in many ways to popular games like Pokemon and Bakugan, but doesn't contain any fighting. Does that make the game more or less appealing to kids?

  • Children can choose to play as a boy or a girl in Monster Racers. Would you ever play as the opposite gender? Why or why not?

Game details

For kids who love competitive racing games

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