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Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers Review

Game: Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers
Genre: Racing, Action
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on PC, PS4 and Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: 3D Clouds | Outright Games
Age Rating: EU 3+ | US Everyone
Price:  US $39.99 | UK £34.99 | EU € 39,99
Release Date: October 1st, 2021

Review code provided with many thanks to Swipe Right PR

TV to Video Game

Blaze and the Monster Machines is a very popular children’s show which has been around since 2014. A CGI show which stars talking monster trucks. Being old and out of touch, I have never come across this show myself. But with a little research, I discovered it is one of the first children’s shows to focus on teaching STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

It’s a show with a positive and upbeat presentation that presents simple problems and encourages children to count and repeat lessons as the show progresses. The show is currently on season 6 and it’s clearly very popular with its target audience. So of course it makes sense a video game would come along at some point. Axle City Racers is a simple racing game that is designed for its fan base.

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This game features a dinosaur truck so you know its good

A small disclaimer; for most readers, this game will not appeal. It’s a title clearly aimed at a younger audience.  However, if you have young children yourself or are looking to get a gift for a niece, nephew or friend’s kid then read on.

Training Wheels

Axle City Racers is a very simple racing game. In single-player you play against 7 AI-controlled trucks with the goal to come first. If a player does drop behind in the race the game has pretty forgiving rubberbanding mechanics (this is where the AI players kinda slow down giving the player a chance to catch up). Before you start, the lead character of the show runs the player through a helpful tutorial walking the player through the game’s mechanics. This includes steering, drifting and reversing. The game does also teach some fun stuff to the player, like beeping the horn which will no doubt bring a little smile to a young mind. Controls have been simplified. This is not a game designed for a player to struggle with. Mastering drifting will help get a speed boost but it’s not essential to success. If the player does happen to get stuck or hit a wall you can tap a button to restart back on the race track.

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The tutorial walks plays through step by step

The game also features an auto-drive function. By switching this on in the options the truck will literally drive itself through the level. This may be a consideration to use if a parent notices their child is really struggling but wants them to enjoy the happy vibes from the game. Who knows though, maybe the parents might find this useful if they are not used to gaming themselves.

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Drift to get a speed boost

You are able to use a powerup by collecting ten wrenches on the track. This powerup is specific to your selected character and may be a shield, a boost or a sort of landmine. This design choice seems a little odd rather than making all the powerups available to all players randomly. This makes some trucks more desirable to play than others and may even cause some imbalance if playing the game competitively with other human players.

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Track designs are pretty basic

Learn a Lesson

Since the show is about teaching children some basic science lessons, the game mildly incorporates this in the load screens. When a race loads, Blaze will dictate a short lesson on something like force and inertia. This seems like a really cool idea but oddly that’s where the game leaves it.

It’s a shame this idea wasn’t built on further and maybe they could have incorporated a counting game while the young player is collecting the wrenches to get a powerup. Sure, this is a video game, but why not provide more opportunities for the player to learn.

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A little lesson during the load screen

Looks Like the Show

Graphically the game looks exactly like the show if not a bit better from the little research I did on the internet. Each of the characters perfectly replicates their looks and positive personalities in the game. It is all suitably child friendly. Lots of bright colours, the vehicles all have lovely warm smiles and even perform nice animations like waving to the player in the character select screen.

The game lets the player select what seems like most of the characters from the show including the somewhat villains. It does appear that the same voice talents also return for this game which includes Nolan North who plays the lead character Blaze. Blaze talks constantly through the game even when you select tabs on menus. It’s the sort of over-excited voice the kids will absolutely love but like a typical kids toy that makes a noise whenever they press a button, it may grain on the parent’s brain after a while.

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You can even play the villain from the show Crusher

Light on Content

As far as options go Axle City Racers is quite light on content. There are only 10 tracks total. You start off with only 3 tracks but more can be unlocked by completing the Grand Prix in adventure mode. It won’t take an experienced player more than 2 hours to see everything this game has to offer. There is unfortunately little diversity in the level designs. Many of the tracks look very similar to city-style tracks followed by a jungle looking theme.

It all kinda blends together and feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity. Racing is also all you can really do. No fun mini-games or time trial modes or even a practice mode. With little content, it does run the risk of the younger audience losing interest quickly. The game features three difficulty settings from easy to hard. 

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Fans will probably love the sweet waving animations

Suitable for Children

You are able to play the game locally with up to four other players. A young player may certainly appreciate playing this with their parents. Even though the game is ridiculously easy for experienced gamers I would say a parent can enjoy this (provided it’s only for a short session). After all, isn’t it worth it to see that smile on the child’s face?

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Conclusion – For a Fan Base

Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers is a racer that caters to its young fan base and succeeds with some room for improvement. A few things could have been built on; more diversity in track design and offering more power-ups rather than just one per vehicle. It also seems a missed opportunity that lessons from the show are confined to the load screen rather than incorporating them further into the gameplay.

If you know a young one that’s a fan of this show and loves video games then this seems like an ideal gift if you’re struggling for ideas.

Final Verdict: I Like It
I like it

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