Currently in its sixth season on Nick Jr and Nickelodeon, if you have kids, chances are you’re familiar with Blaze and the Monster Machines.
An animated show with a focus on teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics, it centres around a monster truck named Blaze and his human driver AJ. Together, they drive around Axle City, having educational adventures along with their monster truck friends. Oh, and all of the monster trucks – or Monster Machines as they’re called in the show – are alive.
Launching this October, Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers is a videogame based on the show, allowing players to take control of Blaze and his friends and race around Axle City. In Adventure Mode there are multiple cups to compete in, each set in an area of Axle City – everywhere from the streets to the nearby mountains. And for those who just want to quickly get into the action there’s Quick Race. Split-screen multiplayer is available in both, too.
We’ve been hands-on with Axle City Racers, and even though it’s aimed at kids, we still had a good time with it. We took control of characters such as the Titular Blaze, as well as Zeg and Darington, competing in races across Adventure Mode and Quick Race. Being monster trucks they don’t move particularly fast, but that doesn’t really matter. This is a kids game, after all, and, if anything, the real focus in on making effective use of boost and special abilities.
Performing impressive drifts around corners results in a sudden, and welcome, burst of speed, allowing you to keep up with or jump ahead of the pack. Pick-ups also litter the track, and if enough of them are collected you can make use of your Monster Machine’s special ability. Zeg, for example, charges forward with force, knocking competitors out of his way. It’s simple, but it’s fun.
Keeping in with the educational theme of the show, loading screens have useful facts about things such as gravity and magnetism. And you really don’t have to worry about Axle City Racers being too challenging for your young ones – multiple difficulty levels are available, and there’s an Auto-Drive helper to keep them on the track and in high-sprits.
We’re really not the target audience for Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers, but even we were taken in by its colourful visuals, cool monster truck designs and basic, yet enjoyable, racing action. So, if you have kids that love the show, definitely keep this on your radar. Though even those that aren’t acquainted with it are likely to have a blast. It’s just clean, simple fun.
Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers launches 16th October on PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC.