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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Like most Disney cartoons, messages are positive. Quests send players to assist various Cars characters and the game is based on the movies which emphasize helping one another, teamwork, humbleness, as well as personal achievement.
Positive Role Models
The game is modeled after the movie which have positive role models. Lightning McQueen starts as a narcissistic and selfish character who learns humility and the value of true friendship; and Sally Carrera is a powerful lawyer. Both characters are played by live game masters and interact with players at special events.
Ease of Play
Driving around the game and playing mini-games are all accomplished by mouse-clicks. Although some games are less intuitive than others, younger kids can easily navigate the menus and the game world.
Violence & Scariness
The Tractor Tipping mini-game involves causing Tractors to fall over but they then pick themselves up.
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Not an issue as kids are only allowed a "white list" of words to use.
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Products & Purchases
The game is free to play, but also has an enticing subscription model which buys a certain number of coins that then allows players to customize the details of their their cars. Since looking cool is the name of the game, kids will most likely try to convince their parents to purchase the subscription. While there is no actual in-game advertisement, there are links however, on the main website where you log in, to other Disney products.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a massively multiplayer online game based on the Disney / Pixar movie, Cars. It is free to play, but certain enticing features require a monthly subscription to unlock, so kids are likely to want a subscription after trying the free game. It is also a browser-based game which means that there is no software to download and install but can be accessed using an internet browser such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome. While there is chat in the game, it is either from a drop down menu or filtered so that kids who are chatting can only use words approved from a "White List."
Is It Any Good?
Disney has created a very simple racing game by using the mouse to lead the car, i.e. where your mouse pointer moves, your car will follow. These controls make it simple, even when reversing or making a three-point turns. Voice-overs assist with instructions and chat limitations create a safe world for young gamers. Although not ESRB rated, Disney uses the same safety features found in their other online worlds such as Toontown Online and Pixie Hollow Online.
This is not an educational title but younger kids can still benefit from the hand-eye coordination practice, item matching, and memory games. Kids who enjoy the Cars world will be happy exploring the World of Cars Online. However, while kids can play for free, they will likely want a monthly subscription which enables them to do more in this world. Luckily, the monthly fee is reasonable at $5.95 per month.
Online interaction: With the free version, chat is limited to drop-down menu-chat (also known as Speed Chat). With a paid subscription, parents can enable Speed Chat Plus (which allows kids to type their chat - but will only allow words from a "White List"). These safeguards help to ensure that kids cannot harass or bully each other online.
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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