A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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
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.
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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.
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.
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.