Another Pixar film, another inevitable game tie-in.

The iPhone version
of the Cars 2 spin-off wasn't much cop, so with that in mind, we weren't expecting much from the Nintendo DS version.

Surprisingly, then, the DS adaptation does in fact throw in some interesting curveballs, as it attempts to follow the storyline of the film: secret agents, stealth missions, etc.

Ironically, the parts of the game that come close to actually being good fun are completely overshadowed by the awful driving levels.

Yes indeed, a game that has 'cars' in the title makes for a better adventure game than a driving sim. You couldn't make it up. Even in the movies.

Honky tonk

Cars 2 follows the story of Lightning McQueen and his pit crew friends as they travel the world, beating opponent after opponent, in a quest for fame and glory.

At the same time, a group of British spy cars are attempting to infiltrate an evil enemy corporation and stop the dastardly Professor Zundapp.

As you'd expect, the two storylines quickly become entwined. Players spend half of the game coercing Lightning around tracks against other racers, and the other half essentially playing a stealth platformer...with cars.

It's as mental as it sounds, though in a very odd sort of way, it works. Initially, it feels awkward, but once you understand the concept of driving, reversing around guards, and the like to reach your destination, there are definite glimmers of fun.


This being a game about vehicles, there are obviously plenty of driving sections mixed in. Unfortunately, these are terrible.

Steering feels floaty and just plain wrong, and cornering involves trial and error around every single corner. If you crash headfirst into something, the time it takes to reverse and move off again usually means you've already lost the race.

To add to the poor controls, Cars 2 also sports some of the worst visuals on Nintendo DS we've seen in a while, with nasty blocky models and textures.

Technically speaking, the game hasn't been put together well at all. Even the music is incredibly quiet, and you can barely hear what anyone is saying.


Lots of extras are available from the main menu, but these are far too lacking in substance to even bother with.

CHROME simply offer time trials for each of the story levels, while World of Cars allows you to go online and unlock special motors using QR codes. It's a nice gesture, but given the state of the rest of the game, we don't think the incentive of a new fleet is going to solve any problems.

And finally, the multiplayer is based entirely on racing. As we've already mentioned, the racing is awful. We're sure you can work out the rest.

It's a shame, because the stealthy elements of Cars 2 actually border on entertainment, and feel as if at least a modicum of thought was put into them.

As it is, this is just yet another film tie-in that parents will buy their kids because, let's face it, it'll shut them up for an hour or two.