ReviewsReview: Blaze and the Monster Machines

Review: Blaze and the Monster Machines

Axle City Racers

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The youth of today have a vast array of entertainment options at their fingertips. Whether it’s the Internet, cartoons, or TV shows, there is something for everyone. Growing up in the 80s, I loved cartoons, and fortunately, my children enjoy these classics as well. However, I can’t prevent them from watching modern kids’ programmes. Blaze has recently captured their interest, so when Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers was released, I let them have a copy.

Developed by 3D Clouds and published by Outright Games, this is a colourful racing title. Coined as perfect for any age group, I think the developers were a little hopeful. As an adult, this title offers little challenge, and a minuscule amount of content. However, my children loved it and subsequently, I lost my Xbox Series X for many hours.

Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers captures the essence of the show.

If you have never watched the show, let me quickly get you up to (blazing) speed. Every story revolves around AJ and his monster machine called Blaze. His team of friendly trucks must complete missions while teaching the audience about maths and science. So, fortunately, it has an educational edge that’s produced in a fun and colourful way. Like all great kids’ programs, it has a villain and in Blaze, the baddie is called Crusher! He has a sidekick and together they cheat their way through life but always fall short. The producers of the show love a good moralistic ending.

Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers focuses on high adrenaline racing with the odd smattering of information. The similarities to the TV program are minimal and its faithful elements revolve around the characters and their voices. The lack of depth or connection to the TV series won’t bother younger players, but it irked me considerably.

When a game uses a big name to sell its product, I expect it to try to be an extension of the franchise. Sadly, though, this appears to be cashing in on its popularity.

Use your power-ups to get ahead.

Limited modes.

The game offers three distinct modes to enjoy. Quick Race, Play with Friends, and Adventure. Each has further sub-menus, and except for Play with Friends, must be tackled solo. The gameplay revolves around races of three laps in specific locations. Each has tried to have a unique look and style, but sadly, it all appears the same.

The main mode is Adventure which gave the impression there would be some depth to the gameplay. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. The mistitled mode should have been labelled as a tournament because that is all it is! You will take part in three separate events, each comprising three races. You complete the event, move on to the next, and eventually arrive at the finale. The last race mixes things up and you go head to head with Crusher. It offered little in the way of a challenge but was a relief after so much repetition.

The Play with Friends option is where it comes to life, and here I spent most of my time competing with my children. Presented in a split-screen fashion, I loved how well it performed and how smooth the gameplay was. My kids enjoyed the fast racing and the simple approach from 3D Clouds.

Take in the sights as Blaze.

A limited roster of characters, but at least they were unique.

A small roster of characters is available to be picked. You have the chance to select the key protagonists from the series and this was enough for my children. I, however, wanted more options and the ability to customise my truck. If the developers had allowed for customisation, this would have added some depth, which was sadly lacking.

Though the choices were sparse, I have to applaud the developers for their eye for detail. I liked how each machine had a unique skill set and special power. These are charged by collecting spanners that are located on each map. Blaze has his ‘blazing’ speed, Darington drops confetti, Crusher slows you down, and so forth. Charging the power-ups was guaranteed, as the developers were overly generous with the placement of spanners. Again, this worked perfectly for my kids, but it reduced the difficulty further for any adult gamers.

Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers looks the part but is dated.

Blaze has a distinct style, and this has been captured in Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers. It’s just a shame that it’s pretty dated. The colourful landscape, familiar machines, and twisting racetracks entertained the kids throughout, but for me, I wanted more. There wasn’t enough complexity to any event, and the gameplay was impacted because of this. No matter the difficulty, the computer never challenged you. When you have nothing to look at, except for some dated graphics, it becomes tiresome quite quickly.

Fortunately, the audio wasn’t as drab! The familiar voices and little sound clips bring the gameplay to life. The use of the theme song was a hit with the kids, and it set the scene nicely. The engines are a little lacklustre, but they work in a childish cartoon environment. The constant chatter from each character was enough to fill the room with laughter, so 3D Clouds has got this element right.

This mode is great with kids.

Excellent controls for children.

Continuing with the praise, the controls are exceptional for a younger audience. They are simplicity personified and there is even an option for automated driving. This makes it much easier to play as a family as the computer assists younger players. This was excellent as it levels up the playing field nicely. I admit I was dreading the normal arguments and frustrations as I introduced the family to the first race. However, I was wrong to be concerned, and subsequently, we all had a great time.

The kids were beaming while they were playing, and they were desperate to play again. It’s clear that this has hit the right note with them and the game is aimed at a less skilled and younger market. As an adult, you’ll need limited time and patience to complete it. Therefore, I won’t return to give it another go unless my kids insist on trying to beat me.

Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers is perfect for youngsters.

I rarely give out two scores for a game, but Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers needs it. As an adult, it’s clearly lacking and underdeveloped. It is unashamedly cashing in on the name, but this, sadly, is nothing new. For this reason, it scores between 4 and 5. Alternatively, my kids adored it! They couldn’t care less about the lack of complexity or character models. They smiled throughout and want to play again, so for that reason, it gets an 8. If you have children this is a must-have and I recommend you to buy it here! Pick your favourite character, win each race, and pick up the coveted Cup.

My video review with footage captured from my Xbox Series X, enjoy!

SUMMARY

Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers is a perfect racing title for kids. It's simple mechanics and easy controls make it a dream for youngsters to play.

+ The perfect game for fans of Blaze.
+ Excellent sound Bites.
+ User friendly controls.
+ My kids adored it.
- Not a game to play without kids.
- Lacks complexity.
- A shallow use of the Blaze franchise.
- Its simplicity undermines its replay value.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on the PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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