There are licensed games that make no sense and there are licensed games that make a lot of money. While Multiversus is surprisingly good, we’re not convinced we Required Shaggy Shaking Batman. But what about a karting race that features the four-wheeled PAW Patrol? This makes a lot of sense. It may be a money-making machine (haha!), but it’s one that has a right to exist.
It makes sense that the Xbox is a video game console. while not short on karting games, isn’t particularly well stocked with karting games made for younger players. Race with RyanIt is a poor and sloppy attempt at it, however Grand Prix PAW Patrol takes aim at the bullseye and doesn’t get far from it.
It’s time to sing its praises. The auto-drive mode of PAW Patrol’s Grand Prix is available. This is a lifesaver as someone with a three year old who loves watching family play together and insists that she be part of it. It drives forward for her, and occasionally course-corrects so that she doesn’t see Adventure Bay from behind a crash-barrier. It’s not new – Mario Kart 8 pioneered it – but so few games adopt it. Bravo to PAW Patrol: Grand Prix, for including it here.
Everything your little ones could want from a PAW Patrol karting experience is available. The main cast of pups are here, plus Ryder, and it doesn’t take long to unlock Everest, Tracker and Rex. There might have been room for Liberty from the latest movie, or some of the peripheral characters (Chickaletta only gets to sound the starting bell, natch), but it’s the heavy hitters, plus a few more, all in their famed, recognisable vehicles.
They are all sung by the UK cast. You can see PAW Patrol on YouTube. You will quickly realize that there are regional voices. Mayor Humdinger is not the right sounding one in the US version. This video shows that the effort was made to get these voices correct. Although they only appear in brief interstitial cutscenes and occasional chatter in cars, it gives PAW Patrol: Grand Prix some authenticity.
Best of all, PAW Patrol: Grand Prix is four-player, and it’s couch co-op to boot. As long as you have four game pads and the equal number of willing pups, you can all play together, and you’re not sacrificing much as you do. It’s the bare minimum for a karting game, but you’d be surprised how many let this hurdle twonk them in the face.
The core is as reliable as Chase, but the rest of the team is more lightweight. There aren’t many ways to play PAW Patrol: Grand Prix, for example. The Adventure Mode, which is a very limited mode, is the closest to a campaign- or Mario Kart-style grand prize. Here, you can play seventeen tracks in a row, but you can only play them single-player, and they’re not broken up into smaller chunks. You can return to your save at any point, but wouldn’t it have made more sense to break these up into manageable bites in some form?
There are also quick races that can be used to choose the track and character you want (again, bizarre: what discerning PAW Patrol fans would do). wouldn’t want to choose their character), and finally – and thankfully – a Custom Race, where you get to choose the track AND character, as well as play multiplayer (but only locally, which makes sense considering the age rating).
Twelve tracks are available with the option of switching them to night or day. We would have preferred to use a mirror mode instead. These twelve tracks have four tracks. ‘themes’It was spread over several reasonably similar layouts. Jungle, Adventure Bay, snow and a kind of beachy flavour are all you get here, and it’s not really enough. Despite being flat tracks, which are often difficult for younger players, they can enhance the feeling of repetition. The Adventure Mode will feel very familiar when you play these seventeen tracks in succession. It’s a bit like watching the episodes in adult mode.
Although the tracks can be tedious, there are some shortcuts that can make it more fun. However, the controls are solid. The cars handle well, and they handle even better if you work out that RT is a power-slide with a boost as payoff; the game doesn’t actually tell you that it’s there. There’s a neat dual-weapon system too, which echoes Outright Games’ other racer, Fast & Furious: Spy Racers Rise from Sh1ft3r. You can collect Mario Kart-like weapons, such as boosts, jams and tornadoes that circle your kart, but you can also accumulate pup treats which will eventually unlock your dog’s signature attack.
Ryder has a shield to stop attacks (a typically non-committal attack from ol’ goody two shoes), while Skye has a flying helicopter boost and Tracker uses his toolkit to grapple the person in front. Each pup has a character-appropriate ability, and while they do range in quality (Tracker’s only works if someone is in front, which isn’t great in first place), they are varied and give the pups some individuality.
That said, there is a blue shell in PAW Patrol: Grand Prix, and it sucks as much as it does in that Mario game that we’ve referenced too much already. It’s a tractor beam that slows you down to a crawl which, as it turns out, is more infuriating than being hit. Moving at 2kph doesn’t feel good, unsurprisingly.
It is not surprising that there is a lot more rubber-banding at PAW Patrol: Grand Prix. As seasoned karting enthusiasts, we found that the three difficulty settings were too difficult. No matter what we chose Marshall or another dog would be there to take us over if we were hit by the blue shell. Sorry, tractor beam. PAW Patrol: Grand Prix is definitely prone to a little didn’t-deserve-to-lose-itis, which is fine, if not great, if you want little’ uns to have a chance of winning, but makes it unsatisfying if you are chasing the perfect Adventure Mode for an achievement.
Nothing in the arsenal of weapons is particularly outstanding (a confetti bomb is a cute articulation of the screen-smothering weapon, but that’s about the height of it), but we have to keep rewiring ourselves: this is a kid’s game, and kids are nowhere near as discerning. Looking at the beaming face of our three-year old as she clears the finish line in second place with Skye, well, that’s kind of priceless, innit?
PAW Patrol: Grand Prix is the perfect choice for a younger player who wants to jump into a fire engine with Marshall. It can handle four players at once; it’s all the right pups with all the right voices. The best part is that it has an automatic drive feature. Your little one will only need to hold the analogue stick. This is not to be taken for granted: it’s incredibly rare.
For everyone else? Perhaps we shouldn’t care. There’s enough here to make playing four-player anything but a chore, and so what if it doesn’t stand up to an adult’s single-player scrutiny? It wasn’t made for us. No.
Take the testimony of two PAW Patrol fans in our house – PAW Patrol: Grand Prix is on a roll.
You can purchase PAW Patrol: Grand Prix at the Xbox Store
There are licensed games that are both cynical and those that make perfect sense. While Multiversus is surprisingly good, we’re not convinced we needed to see Shaggy shanking Batman. What about a karting track that features the four-wheeled PAW Patrol, though? That makes a lot more sense. It may be a money-making machine (haha!), but it’s one that has a right to exist. What also makes sense is that the Xbox, while not short on karting games, isn’t particularly well stocked with karting games made for younger players. Race With Ryan is a flawed and shonky attempt at it, but…
Review of Grand Prix Review by PAW Patrol
Review of Grand Prix Review by PAW Patrol
- Local co-op for four players
- All the dogs you could want
- A solid karting experience
- Bizarre dearth of modes
- Extremely familiar feeling
- Really only joyful for young ’uns
- Huge thanks to TXH for the complimentary copy of the game
- S. Xbox One. PS4, PS5, Switch. PC.|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
- Version reviewed – Xbox Series X
- Release date – 30th September 2022
- Launch price from – £34.99
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