Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Toca Cars (iPad Version) by Toca Boca (Bonnier Digital)

Toca Cars

Developed by Toca Boca

Bonnier Digital (iPad Version Tested)

Toca Boca apps are usually an instant buy for us, so as soon as a new one hits the app store, we'll usually download it sight unseen. Toca Cars sounded, on paper, like the perfect little digital app toy to us. Cardboard cars racing around a fabulous cut-out landscape, reminding us of the car mats we had when we were kids - and reminding Charlotte of her favourite huge lego road system that she loves building vehicles and houses for.

There are essentially two modes here, and two vehicles to choose from. One mode lets you loose in a pre-built landscape, scooting around in your car (which follows your finger around the screen - drag and drive!) the other mode lets you place objects onto the road map yourself, so you can put up houses, traffic signs and even other non-playable characters to drive around or interact with.

That is pretty much it. There seems to be something rather odd going on with Toca apps lately - perhaps it's just us though. They seem to be a little on the shallow side of late, and though we had fun with the last app (Toca Builder) we felt that it had limited appeal once you'd got past its 'Minecraft Builder Lite' gameplay.

The same is true here. Placing objects on the road system (which you can't actually change or tweak), only racing two cars (not together either so no actual racing), putting scenery up then knocking it down. It felt like there was a ton of potential here that was frittered away on tweaking the game to feel right, without actually having a game in there at all. It was very unusual to see Charlotte getting frustrated and disappointed with the game so quickly, and it didn't take long before she quit and went straight back to the other Toca apps she's been playing with for ages (Toca Hair Salon 1 and 2 and Toca Tailor).

Bit of a crushing disappointment really - and something that'll have us thinking twice before we buy before reading reviews or watching trailers in future. Hmmm!

Charlotte's best bit: Putting things up, knocking them down with the car

Daddy's Favourite bit: Fairly simplistic and shallow. It still has all the trademark slickness you expect from Toca Boca, but there's something missing - it all feels a bit lightweight and shallow.

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