Matched up to its film counterpart, Lightning McQueen and his crew become special agents in Cars second run. Gassed up for the gaming generation, we're spinning into Avalanche Software's Cars 2.

Disney Interactive’s subsidiary Avalanche Software does their best to bring out the charming magic of Disney Pixar Cars 2 into game form. Their mission, make cars easy to pick-up-and-play and enjoyable. Avalanche achieves this, although it's not flawless in its execution, they do their best taking each new gameplay addition step-by-step in an extended tutorial process. Surprisingly, 'Cars 2' has an underlining layer of depth for a “kids” game. The basics; driving, jumping and shooting are all straight forward. However, the controls can get a little finicky when it branches out to the “tricks.” Still, 'Cars 2' is accessible with rewards for those who invest more time.

The other half of their mission; make the game enjoyable, Avalanche also succeeds. Although, I have to question why it was pushed through with a "E10+" rating and not the friendly "E" for "Everyone." The "E10+" rating is fine for the older audience, however a good portion, if not the average fan comes from a younger market share. This immediately alienates a good chuck of their audience (if the law is followed.) Sure, kids have grown up since the first 'Disney Pixar Cars' film was released, but I would guess it's audience is still the little ones. Where's the love for the super younglings?

Supporting up to 4 players, you can choose your character and hit the world of 'Cars 2.' Expanding past the simple checkpoint racing, you will train to become super vehicle spies (no this isn't Transformers.) Masqueraded as an international training via the secret agency C.H.R.O.M.E. (Command Headquarters for Recon Operations and Motorized Espionage) you will hit the training courses and events as you earn points to unlock more sections (including the local multiplayer) in the game. The events are variations on racing, team styled events and attack challenges. Each vehicle has the ability to turbo boost, which is acquired by filling up your boost bar by performing tricks. Tricks include everything from simply jumping to doing 360 spins, driving in reverse, power-sliding, and more. Weapons pick-ups are also opened in some modes, which gives you an assortment of missiles, machine-guns, oil slicks and more to unleash on your competitors. In this regard, 'Cars 2' feels like your average “kart racer,” minus the banana peels.


For characters, everyone you would expect is on the roster. Each car is ranked via a point system that balances their power and speed. Although, even with Mator next to Lightning, you can't feel too much of difference. Even though Mator is the heavy (and loud mouthed) truck and McQueen the ultra-light race car, they are nearly identically when they are burning down the track. Having the cars lack a real weight is a small qualm, but given its target audience, it would be questionable to NOT let poor old Mator compete with the other characters. Having an equal playing ground between the large roster of over 30 characters/cars was the way to go, which offers more than enough variety to keep interested in trying out new cars and moving forward. You will likely have your favourite based on personality, so either it be the above super-stars or someone like 'Finn McMissle' or 'Shu Todoroki,' you'll have a blast checking out each charming personality. Furthermore, there are several unlockable rides, so even though you are starting out with a few, give it sometime and the roster will start to fill out.

The locations also spill over with personlity branching out from 'Radiator Springs' to real-world locations like Toyko to England. Each track has a lot of shot-cuts to search out, obstacles to avoid and twist and turns that involve a little bit of strategy to pull ahead in the races. While the areas are repeatitive, I would rather have the plethora of races in the same environment then only a few; thankfully they can be completed in a few minutes. Repetition is only a minor pet-peeve, the big one comes in the lack of any real speed. Boosting is the only time you will feel like you're actually picking up speed, but without it, these cars feel like slugs when the map isn't turning and twisting. With the turns, it helps make the game feels like it's speeding along better, but still a little more “oomph” would have been welcomed.


Avalanche did a commendable job capturing the feel of the animated film, while piling in enough game modes to make 'Cars 2' feel like a "real game" and not a throwaway licenced money grab. Sure, some grips are to be found, mainly the ESRB rating, missing online player, and the lack of speed; but the end of day, there is still a lot of content here that will likely please any fan of the animated films.

  • Captures the feel of the animated film
  • A little more depth than your average “kart racer”
  • Personalities are all in check with voice support
  • Lots of modes that keeps you progressing
  • E10+ rating might alienate some of its audience
  • Tracks can become repetitive given the number of events
  • Without boosting, these “Cars” really lack a sense of speed
Quote: "Avalanche did a commendable job capturing the feel of the animated film, while piling in enough game modes to make 'Cars 2' feel like a "real game" and not a throwaway licenced money grab."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 07.06.11

Similar Articles: Disney Pixar Cars (6.5) | Toy Story 3 (8.5) | ModNation Racers (8.5)


Cars 2
The Videogame

Disney Interactive

Avalanche Software


US Release
June '11



Players 1-4
HD 480-1080p
Dolby 5.1