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In the past I’ve reviewed a couple of Disney’s MMOG for kids: Pirates of the Caribbean Online, which played well but looked like a nasty case of scurvy, and Pixie Hollow, which looked fantastic but wasn’t anywhere near magical (or fun).
Well, Disney’s taking yet another stab at MMOG for kids with World of Cars, an open sandbox game based on the Pixar film, Cars. While the game doesn’t officially launch until this summer, you can log on and get a taste of what is to come.
And from what we can tell,it’s the perfect negative combination of the two previous Disney games I’ve reviewed: it doesn’t look good and it’s not much fun.
The press shots we were sent were far from flattering and the trailer for the game relied heavily on excerpts from the Pixar movie. Logging in and playing the demo left us feeling bored and unfulfilled. The customization of your character was nowhere near as deep as Pixie Hollow and the only game mode that was playable (a single race) was awkward at best. Steering input — the most important element of any driving game — was slow and unresponsive, like trying to parallel park the QE2.
And let’s not hope that your slow-to-act steering guides you off course accidentally, because the gravel on the side of the road will stop you faster than carbon fiber disk brakes. My kids, aged seven and smack dab in the middle of the demographic sweet spot for this game, all tried and had little success navigating the course (racing in a circle forces you to think backwards half the time: Is turning to the top of the screen a left turn or a right one? … Too late).
But that’s not to say it might not all be bad. The track builder has potential for creative fun and some of the mini-games look entertaining. But parts of the game look similar to games we have at our home already — Cars: The Video Game and Radiator Springs Adventures, but saved down to a lower resolution. Granted, the game isn’t fully released and miracles may occur, but we’re not holding our breath for this one.