NASCAR Unleashed



Kart racer is decent but encourages reckless driving.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game asks players to win by crashing other cars, or finding the best line around the tracks, even if that means cutting off other cars. That puts the onus on the gamer to play with sportsmanship, and win without compromising fairness.

Positive role models

Other racers will cut you off and make you crash if given the chance - all of which means that the most positive role model in the game is the player and how they choose to play the game.

Ease of play

While the Xbox 360 controller is relatively responsive, there are other obstacles that create a challenge in the game, like the tracks that are not the typical ovals found in most NASCAR races. Some of the race tracks are off-road (such as along beaches) and there are even jumps included (which can create control problems while airborne and in landing) along the way.

Violence & scariness

The violence in the game includes banging into and crashing other cars. This creates rivalries and those other cars (which are controlled by the computer) will remember and try to return the favor. The game includes the sounds of crashes and while no one is hurt, the crash visuals are somewhat realistic. Players can also cause property damage by crashing into objects along the race routes.

Not applicable

This is NASCAR and that means that cars are sponsored by various recognizable companies and brands - like FedEx and M&Ms. The logos are splashed all over the cars and ad signs are displayed along the tracks as well.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that NASCAR Unleashed is a kart-racing game that allows players to bump other cars, knock them into obstacles along the course, and even force them to crash out of the competition. Players can play the game alone or against a friend in split-screen head-to-head competition using two controllers.  Xbox players with an Internet connection (and Xbox LIVE account) can connect to the leaderboards.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

NASCAR UNLEASHED has four modes of play: Quick Races, Championship - which is akin to a career mode, Time Trials, and split-screen Multiplayer. Players can choose from 15 drivers with NASCAR-style paint jobs; and race on six or so courses that run the gamut from NASCAR courses to beaches and city streets. This is an arcade-style racer with players vying to win the events by bumping and crashing opponents, and using some tactics (like the boost, as well as taking the best lines through the course) to win.

Is it any good?


NASCAR Unleashed has some appeal and can be fun in small doses. This is a kart racing game, not a NASCAR game, as the name would somewhat imply; and while the graphics are bright and colorful, the sound can be a bit wearing after a while. The Championship mode is merely OK. The real enjoyment is in racing against another player. This is a game that could have had much more appeal with more tracks (perhaps a track editor) and more modes of play.

Families can talk about...

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS
Available online?Not available online
Release date:November 1, 2011
ESRB rating:E for Mild violence

This review of NASCAR Unleashed was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Excellent racing sim that's easy to play but has open chat.
  • Ad-stuffed racing sim is authentic and challenging.
  • Great combat racing, but loads of gunfire and explosions.
  • Extraordinarily fun racing sim is deep but unrealistic.
  • Fun family-friendly game that's hard to put down.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byNASCAR101 April 9, 2013

fun game

buy your copy today!


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide