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Cars 3: Driven to Win Nintendo Switch Game Review

Reviewed by on Jun 21, 2017
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Following the release of Disney•Pixars film, we got our hands on the accompanying Cars 3 video game. Check out Kidzworlds review to see if this game goes for gold or sputters across the finish.

By: Max Cannon

When I saw the first trailer for Cars 3: Driven to Win I was definitely interested. Rather than looking like a lame movie cash-in, Avalanche Software's take on Cars seemed promising enough to rise about the run-of-the-mill "movie game." After spending a good chunk of time with the final product I'm disappointed to say that while Cars 3: Driven to Win is far from the bottom of the barrel it's certainly not an easy recommendation.

Controlling Your Favorite "CAR"hacters

Releasing alongside the new movie, Cars 3: Driven to Win doesn't have a focus on the story -- though there is a plot shown off in the beginning -- but the meat of the game is semi-competent gameplay. Opening up with a flashback brings back a cast of characters from the franchise while you'll follow the tale of the series' hero Lightning McQueen. After a news interview hurts his pride, Lightning makes a point to prove that his glory days aren't behind him.

While other screenshots of Cars 3 look gorgeous my experience on the Switch said otherwise.While other screenshots of Cars 3 look gorgeous my experience on the Switch said otherwise.Courtesy of WB

While I can't speak to the quality on other consoles, the Nintendo Switch version of the game was far from pretty. This game is obviously going to draw comparisons to Mario Kart, especially on the Switch, and it's a tall order to match the visuals of one of Nintendo's biggest titles. Voice acting also leaves much to be desired, the cast of the films are obviously absent but you'd think they could have gotten their hands on some talent that sounded a little closer to Owen Wilson.

The Back of the Pack

Similar to the king of cartoony racers, Cars 3 takes inspiration from Mario Kart's gameplay in several key ways. Drifting, boosting, and blasting away opponents with items picked up on the track are features lifted straight from Nintendo's premiere racer. While I think the execution leaves much to be desired, Cars 3 adds a few new features that could've used a little more time in the oven. 

Much of the gameplay consists of building up a meter to boost your character through the course, those aforementioned drifts will build up your boost meter on top of nailing jumps, tricks like driving backward, and driving on two wheels. And you're really going to need that boost because Cars 3: Driven to Win is absurdly hard. Not that I'm just trying to brag about my gaming skills, but I was consistently winding up in 4th or 5th place in the first race of the game and only was about to pull out a second place win after nearly a dozen tries. Giving the game a try on the easiest difficulty makes the challenge much more manageable but for a game that encourages younger gamers and families, I'd say a little bit of a better balance is needed.

Battle Race mode includes Mario Kart style items/weapons.Battle Race mode includes Mario Kart style items/weapons.Courtesy of WB

There are some great ideas that just needed an extra push to really sing in Cars 3. Certain boost pads only work while certain tricks are in use, like driving backward, but your boost is used too quickly and you'll never fully appreciate your award. Nailing tricks feels satisfying, especially when you try to sneak in an extra flip or spin before hitting the ground, but the payoff for landing a trick isn't worth the effort put in during a simple race. The concept of modes outside of racing, like those focused on performing tricks, are welcomed but far from fleshed out.

Cars 3: Driven to Win | Trailer

Final Thoughts

What's most disappointing about Cars 3 is how close the game is to finding greatness. There are so many great ideas, tricks being integrated into races, various modes outside of traditional races, etc. But Cars 3 can't fully execute those ideas into earning my recommendation. While a lot of games could slightly miss the mark but leave me with the hope that a sequel will get it right, the nature of Cars 3 connection to the source material may mean that this was the only chance the game would get and that's a definite shame.


  • Various Game Modes
  • Cool Tricks


  • Unfairly Difficult
  • Poor Visuals on Switch

Cars 3: Driven to Win Game Rating3

Available Now for Nintendo Switch, Wii U, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.

Cars 3: Driven to Win Box ArtCars 3: Driven to Win Box Art
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