Toys come and go, but some have the ability to stick around in popularity for generations. Cars and car games are one of those toys. My husband and I played car games when we were kids and now our own kids enjoy cars. Although car games have stereotypically been associated with boys, many girls play with cars just as often. My own girls can attest to that. And with the release of the new Disney Pixar movie Cars 2 and some fun new toys from Hasbro, Disney Interactive and Hot Wheels, it’s easy for kids to get their car game fix.
|Car Games: Cars 2 Monopoly|
Hasbro’s Monopoly game is a staple in many game cupboards and with the introduction of Monopoly Jr., even younger family members can get caught up in the real estate game. Hasbro’s Cars 2 edition of Monopoly combines the easy fun of Monopoly Jr. and Disney Pixar Cars 2 movie. This Cars 2 game goes beyond just branding the game but actually reworks the game to incorporate a car theme. Kids buy cars from the Cars 2 movie, the tokens are characters from the Cars 2 movie and the markers you place on your property are tires.
The real fun begins when it’s your turn. There’s no dice in this game. Instead kids determine the number of spaces they are going to move by zipping Lightning McQueen around the outside track. My kids loved this part. The game is easy and quick to set-up and you can customize play so it is as long or as short as your child’s attention span. One game usually lasts about 20 minutes and my kids were ready to play a second game. $24.99 Cdn.
|Car Games: Cars 2 Sorry! Sliders|
Another great Cars 2 themed game from the Hasbro line is Sorry! Sliders. The game board is actually a racetrack where your markers race around to determine the winner. My kids quickly picked up on how to move their sliders to avoid them shooting off the track, though sometimes they ended up on their sides.
Along with racing around a racetrack, the best thing about this car game was its flexibility. You can customize your track in a variety of shapes plus you can adjust the obstacles on the track (bump-outs, caution cones, oil spills). This makes the game play different each time you play this car game. It did take quite a bit of time to get the Cars 2 Sliders game set-up but most of that work only happens during the first game. After that you just need to clip the tracks together and add the obstacles. $24.99 Cdn.
|Car Games: Hot Wheels Wall Tracks|
Hot Wheels are a staple in our house, with buckets of the cars found in the playroom and my son’s room. Hot Wheels’ tracks take the cars to the races but sometimes those tracks can take up a lot of room, sprawling across the floor and down the hall, making playing this car game difficult in a busy home.
But Hot Wheels has a unique solution with its Hot Wheels’ Wall Tracks. Using 3M’s safe-for-walls Command Strips, tracks are adhered to the wall, creating bumps and turns and tunnels racing down the wall (and not underfoot). Installing the track is quick and easy with the provided template and if you need to remove it or want to change the track set-up, the 3M strips leave no marks on the wall. Starter set $42.99 Cdn (available at Sears, Zellers, Wal-mart, Toys R Us, Loblaws)
|Car Games: Hot Wheels Video Racer|
If you’ve ever watched a child playing games with Hot Wheels cars, you know they’re imagining themselves racing around in the car. Now Hot Wheels puts kids into the diving seat. With the new Hot Wheels Video Racer, kids can record the racing experience from a little built-in camera on the car. There’s even a clip to hold the car on your bike’s handlebars, your helmet, practically anywhere, to get some unique video footage. Underneath there’s a built-in screen to see the action right away but kids will have more fun editing their video using the Hot Wheels Video Racer editing software (a free download for PC only). With this software, kids will be able to edit their scenes, adding sound effects, animations and music. The finished videos can then be sent to friends and family to see.
The Hot Wheels Video Racer car is bigger than most Hot Wheels cars (we tried unsuccessfully to race it down the Hot Wheels Wall Tracks) but it did fit on our other tracks. Also, the video works best when recorded with a lot of light (such as outside) or else the final clips end up pretty dark. And if you do download the video software, avoid selecting Canada as your country unless you want to download the software in French. $79.99 Cdn (available at Sears, Zellers, Wal-mart, Toys R Us, Loblaws)
Hot Wheels also has all sorts of car games online for your little race fan and all 3 of my kids loved these printable Hot Wheels Driver’s Licenses. Just pop in your own photo and your ready to take the streets.
|Car Games: Cars 2 The Video Game|
Cars 2 isn’t just for little kids. Actually, if you read our review on the Disney Pixar Cars 2 movie you’ll find the new film seems to be aimed at a slightly older audience. For those older Cars 2 racing fans there’s the new Cars 2, The Video Game from Disney Interactive Studios. Racers are enrolled in the training center CHROME (Command Headquarters for Recon Operations and Motorized Espionage) where they learn driving techniques to help them complete missions and races. One to four players can play at one time, choosing to race as Lightning McQueen, Mater or some of the other characters from the Disney Pixar Cars 2 movie. As you complete races you unlock new stunts and racetracks. Players also have secret missions to complete, separate from winning at the racing games.
Steering is a little challenging using the Xbox remote (the game is available for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii and DS, Mac and PC). I found the kids and I tended to over correct our turns. Perhaps if played with a steering wheel accessory the handling might be different. But handling aside, the game is easy enough for the kids to play. Even when the kids come in last, they love the racing experience. Rated 10+ $49.99 Cdn.