Even as a thirty-something year old adult, it’s easy for me to see why kids would love Nickelodeon’s Blaze and the Monster Machines.
An animated show about living monster trucks, it mixes their ongoing antics with a spot of education, covering science, engineering, technology and mathematics. So it’s a win-win, basically; kids get entertained and hopefully learn a thing or two along the way. The same goes for Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axel City Racers, a new racing game based on the property that also hopes to get kids involved in the action.
While the Blaze and the Monster Machines TV show is focused on the titular monster truck Blaze and his trusty young rider AJ, you’re free to play as a variety of its monster truck characters in Axel City Racers. Favourites such as Zeg, Darington and Starla all feature, and aside from looking just like their TV show counterparts, they each have a special ability up their
sleeves wheel-arches that makes them a little unique.
While the vehicles here are monster trucks, the gameplay is akin to the many kart racers available, albeit slower. One button accelerates, though an auto-drive function can be enabled to make things simpler, and while there is a brake button, it’s largely redundant. Most corners can be tackled at full speed, and those that can’t are easily dealt with via the game’s drift button – you even get a burst of speed upon exiting a corner if you drift for long enough.
Littering the track are boost pads, catapulting players into the air at an increased pace for a bit of excitement. There are also spanners encased in green orbs; collect ten of those and your monster truck’s special ability can be activated, generally boosting them forward at speed while knocking other competitors out of the way. It’s simple but entertaining stuff.
The main game mode in Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axel City Racers is Adventure, where players will make their way through three championships before taking on the final event. If that doesn’t sound like much it’s because there is indeed not much to it. Overall there are just ten events – all straight-up races – and players are likely to make their way through them in less than an hour.
Outside of Adventure, there’s Quick Race that lets players create their own events, and Play With Friends, a local split-screen multiplayer mode for up to four players. As a package, then, Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axel City Racers is very light on content and modes. Will it matter all that much to young kids? Possibly not. Endlessly taking part in races against the CPU or friends and family members is sure to entertain, but there are plenty of other family-friendly racing games out there with much more to offer.
Ultimately, Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axel City Racers is what it is – a simple racing game aimed at young children, with informative loading screens that aim to teach. There’s not much to it, which might make its asking price appear a little steep, but its colourful visuals and basic yet enjoyable gameplay make it a perfect entry point into the racing genre. In the grand scheme of things, however, it doesn’t really impress all that much.
Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axel City Racers Review – GameSpew’s Score