Family friendly films and Nintendo kind of go hand in hand. Nintendo being the family friendly console that it is, you would always expect movie ties in to come to which ever console and with the release of Cars 3, here we have the movie tie in on Switch.
I am always scared when I’m reviewing movie tie ins, they tend to be not very good. Unfortunately, this is very much along those lines. While Avalanche studios have tried to tap into the IP and bring this to life in this game, there are limitations with what they are essentially able to do, basically because of the restrictions that are in place due to the story of the IP etc.
The mechanics of the game I have to say are pretty good once you get the hang of them, the drifting I found to be a little more difficult to get to grips with as with each style of vehicle that you drive, the drifting style is always different. Smaller cars will have a sharper turn on them, while larger vehicles will be like trying to get a jumbo jet to turn on a 5p piece.
One thing I did find with the game is that the narrative was OK, it wasn’t the best as I found that it was kind of strong at the start but then dropped away as you went further into the game as though it no longer mattered. However it did bring out the charm of the series, and I know for a fact that younger gamers who love the series will love this game, and at the end of the day, that is who this game is primarily aimed at. There will be other gamers out there who love a good arcade racer and will play it for that reason and won’t care about the series or anything else, it will be solely for the racing experience, and I have to admit, this is one area that the game excels in. One of the annoying things that I found as well was the constant looping of voices, the same phrases over and over again.
Its overall racing experience is very good, as mentioned above, it is mechanically sound and the races are always a challenge, even on easy, there will always be someone keeping up with you, and this is even on easy mode.
When it comes to the design of the tracks, I will say that they were on par and weren’t the best I’ve seen, and with the tracks, you will find out quickly that you will need to learn them if you are going to master them. There are little sneaky parts where you can take a short cut, and I didn’t realise this until I saw someone fly across from the side and on the next lap I kept my eye out for it but noticed it too late. The next time I was on that track, I knew it was there though! This is pretty much the same for all the tracks that you will come across, they all need to be remembered as this will help you to be the ultimate racer!
Cars 3 isn’t the worst looking game that I’ve seen, it’s just not the best either and is rather down in the mediocre levels, but for the game is, it does the job.
Performance wise, the game does suffer a lot here. If there are too many effects going on on the screen, the game will have a tendency to stutter to below 30fps and this was very noticeable in both handheld and TV mode play. The disappointing thing about this is that with the modest visuals, only being able to hit the 30fps mark is very disappointing and I would have thought that they may have been able to squeeze more out of this in terms of performance.
When it comes to the controls for the game, I found the best and most comfortable way to play is with handheld mode, or the joy con grip. You can play with single joy cons to enjoy some local multiplayer however after a few minutes you will find your hand cramping and it getting very uncomfortable. Especially for me who has big ham hands and experienced this when playing this way in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Cars 3 does show some promise, however, with its performance issues, par graphics, as well as limitations brought on by the restrictions in the IP as well as the rushed feel to the game, has dampened any chance of this being any more than one of those poor movie tie ins.
If more time had been given to development, I think performance issues wouldn’t be a problem (Aren’t these things picked up in testing?) but here we are again, another poor movie tie in, unfortunately.