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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Trailblazers is a downloadable sci-fi-themed racing game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch consoles, as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux-based computers. While there's a solo campaign, the game has a heavy focus on working together with other racers as a team. In some cases, just helping your team get the win can be just as rewarding as actually being the first across the finish line. The game is easy to pick up and play for all skill levels and is about as violent as a round of bumper cars. That said, there's a little innuendo, "damn" is used occasionally in the dialogue, and there are some references to drinking. But otherwise, there's no inappropriate content.
What's it about?
In the world of TRAILBLAZERS, when a driver says they're out to make their mark on the track, they mean it … literally. Drivers in these futuristic sci-fi races paint the track as they go, leaving a colorful trail for their teammates to follow. Drive over a paint trail that matches your team color, and you get a speed boost to power you past the competition. You can also play defensively and color over your opponents' race lines to keep them from getting an edge. The game's Story mode serves as an introduction to the gameplay and the game's cast of characters, but the clear focus of the game is hopping behind the wheel and taking on your friends in frantic multiplayer races, local and online, with and against up to eight rivals.
Is it any good?
When it comes to racing games, it can be hard to find something that genuinely feels original, but this racer feels like a classic with a new can of paint. Actually,Trailblazers does something completely different with that paint ... mainly by letting players spill it out all over the track. The result is a team-based experience that's fast and fun, with a little more thought involved than just putting the pedal to the metal. The painting mechanic opens up all kinds of unique team strategies. Players can use the speed-boosted paint trails to slingshot around one another, giving an opportunity to trade places and keep their team's accelerated racing going. Or one player can hang back and keep painting over the opposing team's work, keeping them from earning a boost streak. In 3v3 matches, there are even more ways to combine these and other strategies, making winning a race feel like a genuine team effort.
Trailblazers is also a great-looking game. It's got a colorful, cartoonish style with a retro sci-fi design. It has sharp details and runs smoothly even when you're flying down the track at breakneck speed. As good as it looks, though, the rest of the presentation is a bit lacking. The single-player story mode gets players used to the different tracks with certain goals to accomplish, but ultimately, it feels like an extended tutorial or watered-down challenge mode. Players have certain objectives to reach in each race, but these are mainly practice for the competitive races. While the dialogue is full of cheesy one-liners, these do little to flesh out the drivers' personalities. Mind you, just the addition of a Story mode is more than most arcade racers offer, and it doesn't detract from the overall fun. In fact, even with the Story mode's flaws,Trailblazers winds up having plenty of horsepower to pass a lot of the competition and take the checkered flag.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teamwork and cooperation. What are some positive ways that games like Trailblazers shows about working with others? What does it mean to be part of a team and putting team goals above individual performance?
Discuss competition and being a "good sport." What are some ways to behave as a good winner and good loser? What are ways to handle dealing with people who are poor sports?
- Platforms: Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Rising Star Games
- Release date: May 8, 2018
- Genre: Racing
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Adventures, Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: E for Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Language, Alcohol Reference
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.