The Disney-Pixar Cars video game library has made a distinct left turn with Cars Toon Mater's Tall Tales. Newly released for the Wii console, the game largely departs the racing format and successfully transitions the Cars universe and characters into the popular mini-games style of play.
Based on the Mater's Tall Tales series of cartoon shorts that played primarily on cable television, the game is not particularly fresh nor innovative, but that is really of no consequence; the use of the popular and lucrative Cars franchise provides for an enormously fun and frequently addictive experience. Gameplay consists of thirty mini-games divided among six themes. Each theme is based on one of the original Tall Tales cartoons: Mater the Greater, Rescue Squad Mater, Unidentified Flying Mater, El Materdor, Tokyo Mater, and Monster Truck Mater. Games can be played in either a linear story mode or free play, but with one caveat--individual mini-games must be unlocked via story mode before becoming available in free play. Coins collected throughout allow players to customize their car-character with body styles, spoilers, tires, paints, decals and other accessories.
The game will most certainly delight young Cars fans, but don't underestimate its appeal to adults. It is quite accessible and appealing to the older crowd as well, just as Pixar films play beyond the younger demographics. Grab up to four Wii Remotes and you can have an excellent and high-octane, family-friendly multiplayer experience.
One minor observation: Disney Interactive identifies Cars Toon Mater's Tall Tales as "a Mania! Game," making reference to the Wii game Toy Story Mania released in 2009, but it is not necessarily a content-based connection. The Tall Tales' instruction booklet offers this explanation: "The Mania! franchise, hosted by beloved characters, provides accessible and frenzied pick-up-and-play experiences to be enjoyed by everyone in the living room."
Check back later this week when we take a look at the Cars Toon Mater's Tall Tales collection, just recently released on DVD and Blu-Ray.