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Cars 2 Review

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Souped-up Pixar tie-in

★★★★

Normally, when a kiddie racer trespasses on the hallowed ground laid by Mario Kart, reviewers instinctively get the knives out and prepare to rip it to shreds. But when a game’s as much fun as Cars 2, it’s easy to forgive the sacrilege.

Like Mario Kart, the secret of Cars 2’s success is that it’s simple to play, but a bitch to master. For younger players, burning around the colourful tracks and unleashing weapons is easy, and is made more engaging as the vehicles are voiced by the familiar actors who brought Pixar’s movie screaming to life. But if you want to get the most from the game and stay ahead of the pack in the fierce multiplayer scrambles, earning speed boosts is essential and involves powersliding around impossible bends, pulling outrageous midair stunts and driving backwards around the courses, bringing extra depth to the action and marking Cars 2 out as something special in an overcrowded market.

Extra fun comes in the game’s delirious multiplayer mode, where four players can hook up on the same screen for head-to-head action. And while it’s disappointing that the multiplayer races can’t be played online – and that the car handling feels a little loose compared to more mature racers – Cars 2 is still one of the best spin-offs from a family movie in yonks, and a good way to get your kicks while waiting for Mario Kart 3DS to screech into stores later this year.

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