Hello everyone and happy Cars 3 weekend! To celebrate the new Disney Pixar film, we’ve been gifted with not one but TWO brand new games to chew on while we wait to see the movie! This is great, but given that the two games are SO different, it begs the question, which one deserves your time? Driven to Win is a full on console game with tons to do and tons of unlocks to, well, unlock! Lightning League is a runner type app, pitting Lightning and other racers along tracks where they’ll have to dodge, drift, jump and boost in order to survive, collect coins and upgrade. Today I’ll be giving my impressions of both games and then giving a final verdict at the end. Rev your engines and let’s get started.
Cars 3: Driven to Win
Driven to Win plays like an arcade style racer similar to something like Mario Kart. As you race to the finish line across a series of different tracks, you’ll be collecting boost energy in order to boost ahead of the competition. This can be done in all sorts of ways. From drifting to driving backwards, to performing mid air stunts. This means that while racing is the main course, there’s this crazy stunt show that you are always playing around with as you try to earn boost. In fact, it’s almost impossible to win a race, especially on harder difficulties, without performing these stunts. You can also participate in battle races. These take an even bigger step towards Mario Kart as you collect different weapons to derail your opponents.
The problems with Driven to Win start to show up pretty early. I reviewed the game on Nintendo Switch, but even after watching some gameplay on PS4 I can honestly say that graphically it is just plain ugly. Every texture seems muddied and skimped on, which is a shame because the world looks like it should be brimming with a great palette and it’s just not.
The real issue here is that Driven to Win is trying so hard to be like Mario Kart, but the whole time I was playing it I kept thinking, why would anyone play this OVER Mario Kart? Mario Kart has better levels, more variety and more control over your car. My other issues with the game come down to basic fairness. In Mario Kart, let’s say you’re in last place, your power ups would then be much stronger, giving you the chance to catch up. In first place, your powerups would be less awesome as, well, you’re already in the lead. Here, everyone gets the crazy powerups. This means you can get close to last and still feel like you’re getting totally beat down on. It’s very disheartening for someone who might be trying to learn the game, or even a youngster playing for the first time.
My other issue with fairness is that opponents ‘rubber band’ to you. Let’s say you get in the lead. It doesn’t matter much until the very end because opponents are made so they can auto catch up. I kid you not, in one race, a car fell out of mid-air, appearing out of nowhere to compete with me, even though the map showed I was far ahead of everyone else. Keep in mind, this was on a course with NO power-ups. The game was simply trying to even the playing field. It ends up feeling like an exercise in futility. Couple all of this with the fact that this game is a whopping $59.99 and I’d have to say you should drift past it and never look back.
Cars 3: Lightning League
Okay, I know that was all pretty brutal, but I’m here to tell you there’s hope. Lightning League is a FREE TO PLAY mobile game and you should go download it right now.
Lighting League has you playing over levels where you speed through levels, avoiding obstacles, collecting coins and trying to make it to the end of each course. As you go, you’ll also recruit more Cars to play with and encounter a varied assortment of different abilities to master. Every level seems to incorporate a new aspect and you’ll always be trying something new and going just a little bit faster until you’re blazing down the race track at full speed and just narrowly avoiding mounds of rocks in your way.
Like many games of this nature, you’ll be collecting coins in order to upgrade your Cars and make them faster and more agile. It’s fun to collect the different characters and upgrade them and the challenge amps up fast enough to be engaging but slow enough that you feel like you can learn the ropes before it becomes all too challenging.
It goes without saying that I highly recommend Lightning League while recommending you pass on Driven to Win. I should clarify that in the future, should come across DTW in a bargain bin and you’re a big Cars fan like myself, give it a whirl, but as it stands, it’s just not worth the price tag. After all, for that same price, you could pick up Mario Kart on Switch or WiiU, Forza Horizon 3 on Xbox One or Need for Speed on PS4. On the other hand, Lightning League is free, fun and good enough to give a download!
My Cars 3 film review should be up later tonight. In the meantime, let me know if you’ll be playing either of these games or if you’re excited for the movie!