A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Doing well in this game requires practice and perseverance.
Positive Role Models
The game requires skill that only comes from practice and being willing to keep going even when you lose. But the winners and losers of a race aren't shown being good or bad sports.
Ease of Play
The controls will be familiar to fans of similar racing games. The game does have training levels, but they don't explain the basic mechanics of operating your craft, only how you can modify its weapon systems and performance enhancements before a race.
Violence & Scariness
Players use a variety of weapons -- including missiles, mines, guns, and explosives -- to damage and destroy the competition. But while ships are shown exploding, the driver isn't shown injured, so there's no blood or gore.
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Online communication is unmonitored, which could expose players to inappropriate content.
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Products & Purchases
While the tracks have numerous ads, just like in real-life racing, all of the companies and products being advertised are made up.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pacer is a downloadable futuristic combative racing game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. While players can use a variety of weapons to damage, or even destroy the competition -- including missiles, guns, and explosives -- the destruction is limited to exploding ships. No drivers are shown being hurt or killed at any point in the game. Similarly, while the tracks are covered in advertisements, just like they are in real racing events, all of the companies and products being advertised are fictional. Communication between online players isn't monitored, which could expose players to inappropriate content.
Is It Any Good?
While this is a rather blatant rip-off of another racing game series, it's so spot-on that it ends up being as fun as the games that inspired it. In Pacer, you pilot a jet-powered hovercraft around twisty tracks that would make a rollercoaster designer jealous. You also, as you go, pick-up ammo for weapons you use to damage or destroy the competition, as well as speed boosts that could mean the difference between finishing first and, well, not. In other words, this is basically a replica of the futuristic and combative racing game series WipEout.
But what this lacks in originality, it more than makes up for in depth. Not only are there fourteen tracks and eight distinctive vehicles, there are eleven different kinds of weapons, and all can be modified. You also get to have two at a time, though you still need to pick up ammo off the track as you're speeding around those tight corners. All of which puts this on par with the better WipEout games. Which isn't to say it's perfect; nothing is. For starters, it only has two viewpoints, and neither are the always important cockpit view. Some racing fans might also lament that using airbrakes to take turns isn't a skill you need to master, but it's more of a suggestion. But since that other racing franchise isn't not coming back anytime soon, Pacer is a very fun substitute.
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.