Hands-on Preview – Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers
The hard thing when playing a game clearly aimed at a very young demographic is knowing that you are not its target audience. You know you’re not the one going to have the most fun with it. Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers, presented during Outright Games‘ OG Unwrapped event, is such a case. Even if the preview showcased a game that, in theory, felt nothing special at all, I could see this being a pretty fun entry-level racer for the little ones, something that Race With Ryan tried to achieve, but to no avail.
Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers is based off a cartoon series that I can only describe as the toddler version of Cars. Not only is every single character in the game obnoxiously happy, in that Discovery Kids kind of way, but every single loading screen features the series’ protagonist teaching kids about a simple scientific thing, such as the states of matter and how electricity works. Not gonna lie, I thought that was a smart way to make them absorb some good info in between races.
The game itself is a very basic and by-the-numbers kart racer, severely lacking in the overall sensation of speed, but with somewhat well-designed courses and decent controls, including a drift boost mechanic. There is a twist to it that allowed for an extra layer of strategy, however: there are no item boxes scattered throughout the courses, but once you collect ten wrenches, this game’s equivalent to Mario Kart‘s coins, you can unleash a special ability which is exclusive to each character, such as a pulse shot, or an even bigger boost. It makes Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers feel less of a party racer and more of an introduction to planning and strategizing for kids.
I had the chance of playing any course of Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers with any character I wanted for about half an hour. I wasn’t severely impressed with it, nor its assortment of modes. However, there was a fair amount of environmental variety and the game itself ran surprisingly well. It also had decent loading times and an excellent framerate. Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers won’t change the world when it comes out, but considering the poor selection of good (or even average-at-best) racers aimed at kids, this one is doing a good job so far.
Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers is scheduled for an October 2021 release for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch.