Damn, what a year for kart racers right? We had Team Sonic Racing, Crash Team Racing and a few indie developers with fun experiences in the genre too. Have to say that I’m really happy to see this genre active again on Xbox, we had a few dry years when it came to fun local kart racers. Developer ArtVostok joins the revival party with Meow Motors, clearly aiming for a younger audience. We have been spoiled by our fast blue friend and our hairy spinning bandicoot, but they aren’t really aimed for our youngsters. So find out in this review if Meow Motors is the Purrrrrrfect game for your kids! Oh and prepare for some annoying cats puns…
- Paw-some pick up and play for everyone: For us adults Meow Motors might be a little bit too easy (see the bad) but is clearly aimed towards the younger generation everyone can pick this one up and immediately play it. Unlike for example Crash Team Racing that requires deep knowledge about the drift-system. Here you pick a cat and a car and just drive and shoot powerups, you get it, your non-gamer siblings get it even your always sleeping real-life cat can play this one, in theory. (be sure to film it if it ever happens)
- Fur-miliar cute characters: Cats! Who doesn’t love cats? Maybe dog lovers but you get my point. With 10 totally different Fur-midable cats the playable roster is decent enough for a few local battles. My favorite is Rusty, maybe because I have a weakness for Sphynx cats but all characters look cute or fierce!
- Purr-ty levels: I was really surprised about the colorful and good looking levels on offer. Many different locations give the game much longer replay value, it has some neat level designs that are appealing to the eyes. Visually the game really doesn’t disappoint and the developer can be proud about it!
- Purr-haps the story could have been a little better: The story is as generic as a (lovely) simple black cat. It is explained in some drawn cutscenes and after finishing a story location you get some new story elements but nothing mind-blowing. Don’t get me wrong, I honestly appreciate the effort that the developer did with adding meaning (read extra bacon on the burger)
- Paw-don me, a game like this needs online play and good local multiplayer performance! Thankfully you have local multiplayer options but there is no online play. A small disappointment but I’m aware that the costs are likely too much and let us be honest, would it really be active? So I will forgive them for not including this. More annoying is the performance of playing this with more than two players, whenever three or four players play together the performance really takes a drop. This isn’t an issue when you just play with one friend (or alone).
- Claw-ful English translations: (no score reduction) It would be silly to lower the score for this but it kinda shows that the game didn’t have much budget, that’s fine because the game is decent enough but the proofreading in Meow Motors is laughable, at one point they even spell the name from the game wrong. Take a look at the website too, you’ll immediately be welcomed by “Xbox One realese”
- Un-fur-tunate questionable AI: Playing on easy, normal or hard? It honestly doesn’t seem to matter the AI always does the same racing lines, behavior and always stays right behind you, no matter what you do. I think the correct term for this is rubber band AI, it is one of the worst I have seen in a game.
- Fur-real, where is the chaotic fun? It doesn’t help that Crash and Sonic just released a kart-racer too but Meow Motors really lacks some spicy peppers when it comes to gameplay. The tracks can be finished almost blind-folded, you regularly have some track hazards but nothing that can be overcome easily. Even playing with a Furrari can be boring after a while …
Meow Motors is fun for the aimed audience but lacks some depth and challenging moments for most gamers. They did a fantastic job making the game accessible for everyone, literally everyone, even non-gamers can pick up this game and play.
Developer: ArtVostok Publisher: ArtVostok
Played on: Xbox One X
Dae Jim played five hours exploring the race tracks with his cat friends.
Perfect for: Game parties, young players.
Xbox Game Store link click here (€15)