My kid (who is all of three years old) browses the Play Store on his Xperia Z2 tablet, looking for icons that are familiar – like, anything showing Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon. Then he immediately wants to download that game. Sometimes it’s too hard for him to play, and we end up with frustration and tears, and me sneaking the tablet away when he’s not looking and deleting the app, in the hopes of “out of sight, out of mind”.
This has happened quite a few times, so it was with some trepidation that I downloaded “Cars: Fast as Lightning” for him when he spotted Lightning McQueen in the Play Store. It’s definitely a game for older children, but (ahem), it’s so much fun that soon an older child – read: his dad – was so engrossed in it over the December holidays that the two of them spent many a happy half-hour playing together.
Cars: Fast as Lightning is a mix of two genres: racing and town-building. Which is good, because while you’re building your very own Radiator Springs, growing more, and more impatient waiting for your little timers to go “ding!” (signalling that one of the shops/buildings has earned you more coins or diamonds), you can hit the track and race characters from Disney’s Cars (as well as other people playing online).
It is a freemium game though, meaning that you can buy coins and diamonds with actual cash – starting at R10 in the Android version we reviewed. That said, this is one of those games where it’s not impossible to play without making an in-app purchase of in-world currency. A couple of days in, we were making so many coins even I was monitoring, the game, and tapping the little coin bundles as they popped up, to add to our stash so that we could expand Radiator Springs.
Visually, Cars: Fast as Lightning is a good-looking game. Developers Gameloft have really done the Disney/Pixar franchise justice.