I wasn’t sure how I felt when I saw Cars 3: Driven to Win show up in my mailbox, on one hand, it could be terrible and a quick cash grab on the recently released Cars 3 film. On the other, the game could be good and worth mentioning to a friend with a child to check out. I’m happy to report I was wrong and that Cars 3: Driven to Win is good, full of content and developed by Avalanche Software, the studio behind Disney Infinity and my personal favorite Disney title, Toy Story 3: The Video Game, which featured a fantastic sandbox mode full of things to do.
A little-known fact is Avalanche Software was shut down in May 2016 by Disney, effectively ending Disney Infinity, however, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment stepped and acquired the studio from Disney, and put them onto a new project, Cars 3: Driven to Win.
I was happy to learn that upon losing my first race, then my second, that Cars 3 isn’t only made for kids, there is a difficulty curve that took me by surprise but it was nice to see I wouldn’t be on cruise control from the beginning.
Cars 3: Driven to is a proper kart racing game, get ready to spend your time racing and blast your wy through 21 unique tracks. At the beginning, you’re locked down with only two or three cars and must spend time unlocking 23 different cars for use. You’ll be happy to learn that there is a ton of content to unlock and earn, and doing so has been a blast once you get past the learning curve.
The tracks variety is impressive, as Cars 3 features 21 different tracks with hidden nooks and paths I’ve yet to fully discover. It’s also these secrets that have cost me a race, which, luckily feel very natural on the track, often cutting crucial seconds off a first-place finish. To discover them all, you’ll have to keep an eye out and keep racing on each track.
Did I mention that the controls for Driven to Win aren’t bad? I’ve been playing a lot of Mario Kart 8 on the Switch recently – and the controls play similar here which add up to an enjoyable experience taking corners smoothly or launching missiles at your opponent while dodging attacks.
An issue that stuck out for me is the lack of any online multiplayer, granted, this is a licensed game catered to a specific crowd, the exclusion of any working feels like a giant misstep for the game, but it makes sense when looking it financially. At the core of Cars 3, it’s Kart game made groups, so why not include the ability to play online with like-minded gamers looking for a challenge; the number of tracks and cars available scream to be used online, but are chained to offline play.
Cars 3 features six different types of races to play with, and a mode I spent a ton of time in was Battle Race, a mode many of you are familiar with if you’ve ever played a Mario Kart game. There is also Battle Mode, Playground, Takedown, and Stunt Showcase.
Avalanche has done a great job at bringing the characters of Cars to life, each car bringing the charm and lovable likeness to the video game. The stand-in for Owen Wilson’s Lightning McQueen did a great job, so much so I had a hard time telling them apart after deciding to watch the first movie again this past weekend.
Cars 3: Driven to Win is a surprisingly adept game that caters to both children and adults, the surprising difficulty I experienced at the beginning was nice to see, is that many games tailored for children are simply so easy to play through it isn’t a challenge. Avalanche Software is a studio with a good track record and their merits must not be forgotten; this studio knows how to make a good game. Despite being based on the Cars, Driven to Win is worth looking at and playing with friends, although, the decision to forego any multiplayer takes a big chunk of the experience away – this is a great experience for Cars fans of if you have kids.