Speed Racer: The Video Game

 
A fun and surprisingly challenging all-ages racer

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The competition is generally friendly, but racers often taunt each other, saying things like "This is the part where you wish you were me."

Violence & scariness

Plenty of cartoonish vehicular combat. Cars spin out of control, smoke, and eventually explode.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is based on the Speed Racer movie, which in turn was inspired by a television show of the same name.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this game is a direct offshoot of the Speed Racer movie. Seeing the film will make many children want to play the game and vice versa. Experiencing both will probably result in an overwhelming desire to buy lots of Speed Racer toys. Still, it's a good quality racing game with little in the way of worrisome content. Trixie's skirt will seem a little short for some parents' taste, and a fair bit of cartoonish violence takes place in the form of vehicles attacking one another with spins and jumps, but there is little else in the way of potentially offensive material.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

Not surprisingly, SPEED RACER: THE VIDEO GAME, which is based on the similarly named movie, is a racing game. It allows players to jump into the boots of the film's lead characters and zoom around the same sort of spectacular, gravity defying, sci-fi race tracks seen in the movie. Racers can also attack their competitors using Car-Fu, which is a sort of vehicular martial art that involves jumping onto and bumping into nearby cars to slow them down. As the single-player portion of the game progresses, additional races, tracks, and cars become unlocked. The game also offers a two-player split screen mode.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Games based on movies have a reputation for being hastily thrown together, and typically occupy the middle or lower rungs of whichever genre into which they happen to fall. That's not the case with Speed Racer: The Video Game. While it could have done more in the way of narrative (which is to say there really isn't any sort of story at all), it's actually a solid little racing game that delivers a thrilling sense of speed -- the in-game speedometer measures velocities as high as 500 miles per hour -- and plenty of exciting, gravity defying tracks.

What's more, it provides excellent motion sensitive steering controls designed with the Wii remote's snap-on steering peripheral in mind (though it plays just as well without it). The Car-Fu attack moves employ the remote's motion sensitive functionality as well, requiring players to jerk the remote left or right to bump into other cars and make a pancake flipping motion to perform jumps. The attacks are generally pretty easy to pull off -- and it's a good thing, since players will need to master them in order to win harder races later in the game. The only real downside to the races is that computer-controlled opponents adjust performance based on the player, which means they slow down when you take a spill and speed up when you are racing well. It's nice to be given a chance when you fall behind, but it's aggravating when you're in the lead and unable to put more than a second or two between you and your nearest opponent, even when racing flawlessly.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about games based on movies. Do they provide insight into a film's imaginary world? Do you come away feeling as though you know more about the movie's characters? Or are movie-based games simply a means of pretending that you are in a movie, reliving its most memorable scenes? Are these games generally as entertaining as the films upon which they are based? Do you ever enjoy games based on movies more than the movies themselves?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS
Price:$30-50
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Warner Bros. Games
Release date:May 6, 2008
Genre:Racing
Topics:Cars and trucks
ESRB rating:E for Mild Language, Fantasy Violence (Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii)

This review of Speed Racer: The Video Game 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.

Quality

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.

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

Kid, 11 years old March 25, 2014
age 8+
 

Good game that was underated

Speed racer is a great racing game for those who wants a new experience of racing. It is full of futuristic tracks, vivid environment , colorful eye candy, and idolize fuel cell cars Its easy to control for ps2 and more epic in replay.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Kid, 7 years old February 26, 2011
age 7+
 

Its the best

I LOVE IT
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Kid, 9 years old January 2, 2011
age 5+
 

A Good Thing For Kids And More!

Jakers!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Safety and privacy concerns

Poll

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

Digital Compass