You might have noticed that this review looks slightly different to other reviews on VideoGamer.com. That's because we look at games clearly designed for younger gamers in a slightly different way to other games. We'll endeavour to tell you just what you need to know in a clear and concise way so you'll be confident it's the right purchase for whatever your situation.
What is it?
A racing game in which you take part in lightning fast races on psychedelic courses. Speed Racer is based on the movie of the same name, although doesn't require you to play as only Speed, the lead character in the movie. As well as contending with the high speed, you'll have to learn how to master car-fu, taking down other racers as you work your way into first position. Without a story of any description, the game is split into tiers of increasing difficulty.
Speed Racer on the Wii is controlled entirely using the Wii Remote's motion sensitivity - either horizontality or inside the Wii Wheel. Although not offering the same level of control as a traditional analogue stick, the cars handle extremely well and glide around corners with relative ease - you just have to point them in the right direction.
The gameplay built on top of the racing is what many younger gamers might find a little tricky. The boost system is simple enough, rewarding you with a turbo for good driving, but the sliding and combat are a little fiddly. Slides see you spinning 360 degrees as in the film, and take a little getting used to. Combat requires you to jab the Wii Remote to the side though, often taking your focus away from a good racing line. It's not overly complex, but certainly easier to get used to if using the Wii Wheel as the buttons are easier to get to in this formation.
Speed Racer the movie is extremely colourful and the game is no different. Although the Wii can't hope to replicate the stunning movie visuals, the tracks and cars look like they've been ripped straight out of the film. The main characters are all present and 9 of the 15 tracks are set in environments from the film. Gamers hoping to follow the story of the movie will be disappointed though as you simply don't see any of it in the game. Two-player split-screen racing is included, but there's still not really enough of a game here.
For a movie licensed title Speed Racer on Wii is surprisingly well put together. The game moves at a brisk pace and the visuals are impressive, if not as crisp as we'd have liked them to be. Voice over work is pretty slim, but the characters from the movie appear as cartoons on the side of the screen, commenting on the race as it happens. Speed Racer, Racer X and Trixie are all voiced by the actors from the movie.
Anything for adults?
The gameplay in Speed Racer is perfectly solid, and more than good enough to waste a few hours with, but it's not really a game designed for experienced players. It's far too simple meaning that anyone with any racing pedigree will breeze through all the game has to offer in no time at all.
Speed Racer is a movie that assaults your eyes with colour and the game does its best to bring that to gamers. It's fast and pretty action packed, but doesn't feature a whole lot of content. The lack of a storyline might also disappoint some fans of the movie. While not for the under 8s, most fans of the movie should find the game to be very enjoyable.