Star Wars Episode I: Racer

Game review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Star Wars Episode I: Racer Game Poster Image
Solid remake of fun sci-fi racing in a galaxy far, far away.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Practice makes perfect. To be a true champion, you not only need skill (and The Force) but a willingness to dust yourself off and try again when you fail.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Our hero wants to win, but he doesn't cheat, and when he loses, he's gracious in defeat.

Ease of Play

The controls will be familiar to fans of similar games. While it doesn't have any difficulty options, it isn't terribly difficult...at first.

Violence & Scariness

While the pods do slam into each other during races, and will explode if the overheat or crash, there's no blood or gore. The point of racing isn't to smash the other pods either, but to come in first place.

Language

While Sebulba curses at you a lot, his Dugese insults are not translated into any human languages.

Consumerism

The game's based on a movie that's part of a franchise that encompasses TV shows, toys, apparel, other games, and much, much more. This is also a remake of a game released many years ago.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Star Wars Episode I: Racer is downloadable arcade-style racing game for the PlayStation 4 and Switch. An updated remake of a 1999 Nintendo 64 game inspired by the pod racing in the movie Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, it, like the movie, has nothing inappropriate for young Padawans. While the pod racers do crash, and crash into each other, the resulting explosions are not accompanied by any blood or gore. Also, while your fellow racer Sebulba will curse out his competition, his Dugese obscenities are not translated into any human languages. It's also one of many games inspired by the Star Wars saga, which includes movies, TV shows, other games, novels, and more.

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What's it about?

In STAR WARS EPISODE I: RACER -- a remake of the 1999 Nintendo 64 game of the same name -- you get to be Anakin Skywalker and his competition as they engage in a series of pod races. Starting off in the Boonta Classic on Tatooine (which is the pod race in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace), the game's "Tournament" mode has you working your way through a succession of races in hoping of one day facing off against Sebulba, young Skywalker's rival. Or, if you prefer, you can race against a friend, the clock, or just do a one-off race for fun.

Is it any good?

While race fans and people into the original version of this game may feel this remake could've done more, this is still a rock solid sci-fi racing game. A new version of a 1999 Nintendo 64 game, Star Wars Episode I: Racer is a futuristic racing game inspired by the iconic and exciting scene from the movie Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Playing as young Anakin Skywalker, or one of his competitors, you have to steer your way through numerous twisty tracks, some of which have multiple pathways. Along with a "Tournament" mode that has you working your way up the standings so you can take on your rival, this also has you racing against the clock or friends sitting next to you, though (sadly) not against anyone online.

That's probably one of the biggest weaknesses of this game. While it's still a fast and furious racing game, this remake doesn't go far enough. Sure, the controls have been upgraded, and are much improved, but the graphics haven't changed and are as blocky as they were in its original release. This could've also been improved by adding new racers, tracks, and other elements from the sequel, Star Wars Racer Revenge, or the arcade pod racing game Star Wars: Racer Arcade. As a result, this doesn't have the depth of a modern racing game, even if it does let you spend your winnings on better pod parts and pit droids. Still, for fans of the original, or anyone looking for a futuristic arcade racing game, this new version of Star Wars Episode I: Racer will have you yelling, "Now this is pod racing" like a young Padawan.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about driving safety. While pod racing is notoriously dangerous, all of the drivers wear protective gear, so why is this important? Do you think it's something you should do when riding your bike?

  • Why is being a good sport important? Why is it important to be both a good winner and a good loser?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
  • Price: $14.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Aspyr
  • Release date: June 23, 2020
  • Genre: Racing
  • ESRB rating: E for No Descriptions
  • Last updated: June 25, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love racing

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