Cars 3: Driven to Win (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 27.07.2017

Review for Cars 3: Driven to Win on Nintendo Switch

Very rarely do licensed video games manage to overcome their poor reputations. Primarily created to advertise and serve as tie-ins, licensed titles exist more to make a quick buck than to reinvent the wheel. There are exceptions, such as Spider-Man 2 and the majority of LucasArt's catalogue, but the average licensed product tends to come out dead on arrival thanks to a likely lack of passion or attachment to the IP on the developer's part. Cars 3 is both Pixar's latest film and a $60 advertisement, sporting some race car action for Switch owners. The question is whether or not it's just an advertisement.

Cars 3: Driven to Win starts off with a surprising amount of promise. Lightning McQueen races down a speedway with pals as he learns all the mechanics necessary to survive in his car centric world.

The gameplay showcase is easily the strongest part of the opening. Lightning watches his fellow cars do tricks and then he follows suit. He can drift, jump, and drive backwards at any given time with almost buttery smooth controls.

These feats of speed set the stage for an interesting racing experience, but they're unfortunately never developed beyond what's shown in the beginning, leaving too much to be desired too early.

Screenshot for Cars 3: Driven to Win on Nintendo Switch

Drifting, jumping, and backwards driving never blend together into a cohesive whole. They can all be used at a moment's notice, but they lack a degree of depth that could have paved the way towards gameplay with a high skill ceiling that still managed to be accessible to anyone.

As is, Driven to Win really only caters to casual racing fans with no real room for growth. The emphasis on a younger audience is felt particularly heavy with the exclusion of any sort of online. Local multiplayer is available, but between bland tracks and a lack of growth in the mechanics it loses its lustre rather quickly.

Single-player is predominantly driven through a challenge grid called the Hall of Fame, not unlike those present in Masahiro Sakurai's recent titles. These skill checks in the Hall of Fame are almost shockingly similar to how the opening presents its mechanics.

Screenshot for Cars 3: Driven to Win on Nintendo Switch

All the challenges are laid out at once, giving the illusion of content, but further examination reveals them as only the simplest of tasks. They aren't so much challenges as they are an arbitrary checklist of things to do.

Unlockables add just as much tedium as they do longevity when they're implemented as poorly as they are in Cars 3. Unlocking a new character, track, or mode should be exciting, but it shouldn't be all there is to do.

Just about every mode, track, and character is locked at the beginning; an absurdity for a genre that relies a great deal on multiplayer content, especially when the base game is so bare in content.

Screenshot for Cars 3: Driven to Win on Nintendo Switch

For what it's worth, the presentation is sincerely impressive and clear amount of effort has been put into recreating the Cars universe for the video game format. Aesthetically, the colourful world is a treat to look at and the cast's many quirks and vibrant designs allow them to stand out from one another despite all of them being talking cars.

Leisurely driving around Playground Mode is the most fun Driven to Win can offer, as it acts as a relaxing showcase of all the detail put into the world. Unfortunately, it seems like all the effort was put into making a pretty product over making one that was substantial, as well.

At the end of the day, Cars 3: Driven to Win feels like a half-hearted attempt at overcoming the advertisement roadblock that damages so many licensed products. It tries to present itself with a host of content and interesting mechanics, but without a single ounce of depth to make things engaging, Lightning McQueen's latest endeavour crashes and burns before it even properly begins.

It's a pretty burn, at least.

Screenshot for Cars 3: Driven to Win on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


Despite what seems like a sincere attempt at trying to stray away from the typical licensed game pitfalls at first, Cars 3: Driven to Win strays off course almost immediately and winds up just another disappointing movie tie-in. The amount of content packaged in almost feels illusory at times, as the presentation gives the impression of a deeper experience. The Hall of Fame mechanic promotes tedium instead of overcoming challenge, and a lack of online multiplayer severely holds the content back. Tracks with no discernible identity and mechanics that feign complexity only serve to make Driven to Win feel even more like a blatant advertisement. With Mario Kart 8 already out for the Switch and better than ever, there's little reason to give Lightning McQueen the time of day.


Warner Bros


Warner Bros





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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