Family Game Night – Cars 3: Driven To Win

img_6198There are a few different ways to know if your children are having fun with a new video game. It could be the smiles on their faces, it also might be the sound of laughter coming from the room, but around my house I know we’ve got a good game on our hands when the kids are fighting over it. Yeah…I know, we’re not exactly The Cleavers.

Cars 3: Driven to Win is a new racing game based on this year’s hit movie from Disney/Pixar. It’s developed by Avalanche Software, a team some of you may be familiar with as the developers behind the Disney Infinity series. The game features over 20 playable racers from Lightning McQueen to Jackson Storm, and over 20 tracks featuring iconic locations that will be immediately familiar to fans of the films. As pretty much anyone with kids will be able to attest, these are some wildly popular movies among youngsters, so we were excited to jump into the game for our latest Family Game Night.


The game features several different modes of play, and we decided to start with the most basic Race mode. While the game may seem simplistic at first glance, there is a level of complexity to the controls that proved to be a challenge for the kids. There are three types of boost pads throughout the course, each of which can only be used if you drive over them in a certain way. On one you need to drift your way across it, on another you need to spin around and drive backwards over it (by pressing down on the right stick) and a third in which you need to balance your car on two wheels (pressing up on the right stick). You can also press left or right on the right analog stick to juke into your opponents. AND you can also pull off stunts when you go off of jumps to earn a little extra boost. If all of this sounds like a lot for tiny minds to be able to wrap their heads around… you’d be right.

cars3Now of course you don’t NEED to use all of these complex controls to get through a race, but there’s enough difficulty in the game that not using your boosts to their full potential will leave you at a definite disadvantage. My girls went through multiple races and neither one of them could manage to do better than last place on the EASY difficulty level. Luckily the game features something called Playground mode, which allows them to drive around a track without any time limits or other racers to compete against, so the kids can just drive around and play and have fun.

You can also try out Battle Race if you want to add an extra layer of complexity to the races. These are essentially the same as a normal race, but with the addition of item blocks that you can drive into to give you a variety of offensive weapons to use against your opponents. All of these weapons were loads of fun to use and varied from heat seeking missiles to magnetic mines. I personally had a blast during these types of races and it became my go to mode for the game.

We were all very impressed with the tracks in the game as well, with environments that are varied, visually impressive (we played on the PS4) and offer plenty of short cuts. I may not be personally very familiar with the locations from the films, but I was excited to unlock each new track to see what they would have to offer. They managed to do a really good job of capturing not only the visual style of the movies, but the personality as well.

There are several other modes in the game to keep the entire family busy including Takedown which tasks you with using your arsenal to defeat as many opponents as you can within the allotted time, and Stunt Showcase which has you trying to rack up points by catching big air and flipping and spinning your way to victory. There is definitely plenty of variety in the game and players of all ages should be able to find a mode that suits their play style.

At the end of the night, we had all managed to find plenty of fun in Cars 3: Driven to Win. There’s certainly a bit of a learning curve and younger or more inexperienced players will be challenged, but I wouldn’t let that deter you from breaking it out on your family game night. If you love the Cars movies (and even if you don’t) I think this will be a big hit with the whole family.

Parent’s Take

Dad “Tons of variety ensures that every player will find a game mode to enjoy. I got a lot of enjoyment out of the Battle Races in particular. ”

Kid’s Take

Samantha “I think it’s good. But I don’t like going in last place.”

Chloe “It was fun to play with my Dad. It’s tough to win but I like all the cool cars.”

Cars 3: Driven to Win is available now on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and Nintendo Wii U. Warner Bros. Interactive provided us with a copy of the game for this feature but we were not compensated in any other way.

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