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Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales


Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales

Platform: Nintendo Wii
Category: Action Games
Author: Val

Developer: Papaya Studios
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios


Wii Remote
Players: 1-4

As incredibly outrageous as he is hilarious, Mater takes us on a front seat tour of his escapades in Mater's Tall Tales. Come along for the ride as you re-enact the stories with Mater and hear first hand how Mater was a Firefighter, Monster Truck, Stunt Car, Unidentified flying Mater, Tokyo Drifter and even a Matedor. With Cars having a steady presence in our household in the form of toys, books and even video games, this title was a must have for our oldest son who just couldn't wait to jump into the gameplay.


It is obvious from the beginning how much work was put into the graphics in this game as watching them will make you feel as though you are watching a segment right from the Mater's Tall Tale shorts. The game is broken down into six individual Tall Tales (Mater the Greater, El Materdor, Monster Truck Mater, Tokyo Mater, Rescue Squad Mater and Unidentified Flying Mater) each having its own unique design theme relating to the story that is told before your eyes. From the locations such as the inside of a circus tent where Mater the Greater performs his death defeating tricks, to the burning buildings and city streets that Mater must speed through to get to the hospital in Rescue Squad Mater, no detail was omitted, creating great visuals. Even the supporting characters are creatively costumed, from the black veiled female twins in El Materdor, the cars in Tokyo Mater having eyes common in Japanese anime or even the Rastafarian Monster Truck complete with the long black dreads. Let’s not forget Mater always looking the part in his elaborately dressed up costumes, fantastic paint jobs and modifications

Each story segment and game is introduced by short animated cut scenes in which Mater retells his story to you. The games themselves are nicely animated with the characters responding well to your actions. With all of these great animations and graphics there is only one major downfall which is the load times. Between each game and story segment you will experience longer than usual load times that will have you continuously staring at Mater swinging his tow hook in circles on the black loading screen.


Following in the same direction as the graphics each story has music appropriately matched to it. From the Paso Doble music in El Matador, the Japanese music in Tokyo Mater and even the carnival and polka sounding music in Mater the Greater, each story's music assists in creating a rich environment and adds to the story telling. Even the voice acting is phenomenal. Mater, McQueen and all of the support characters' voices add great personality to the stories.

There are also some great sound effects in this game. The sound of fire roaring from the burning buildings, the grunting of the bulldozers, sirens, vehicles back firing, impact noises heard through the Wii remote etc. Your countdown timer during gameplay will get louder and you may notice that the music speeds up slightly as you are approaching the end of a game. Lastly, when you have completed a game you will be greeted by the sound of fans cheering your success.


Mater's Tall Tales has a story mode (Tall Tales mode) a Free Play mode and Playlist mode. In Tall Tales mode you re-enact each of the six tall tales by playing through the five games per tale. Each of the games have unique controls that are depicted at the beginning of each game and can include a combination of button pushing, aiming and moving the Wii remote in different directions as well as some Wii remote and body actions. For example, in Rescue Squad Mater the five games are as follows: Race to the Scene (you press the numeric buttons for gas and reverse while holding the Wii remote as though you are holding a steering wheel); Fire Trucks Carry (the vehicle is controlled with the directional pad and pushing a button will slow you down so you don't lose any items); Super Squirtin' (pointing the Wii remote while holding down a button will shoot water at a burning building); Save the Stuff (the directional pad is used to position your vehicle underneath falling objects and then you can catch them by pushing a button and jumping up beneath them); Emergency Escort (the Wii remote is used like a steering wheel as with the first game). Overall, it is a nice idea to have the instructions depicted on the screen, however for some of the trickier games it would be nice to have some written instructions.

When you complete a game you will receive coins based on your performance and may also earn trophies. These coins can be used to purchase vehicle customization: Body Types, Spoilers, Tires, Paint Jobs, Accessories, and Stickers and if you are able to earn a bronze trophy in your game you will be able to have the game unlocked in Free Play or Playlist mode. In the garage you can also see your License Plates (awarded for completing achievements, ex: earning 30 silver trophies, earning every award, unlocking every mini-game etc.), your Collectibles Board (items earned through awards) and your Trophy Case. In addition to these great items you can view in your garage there is also some bonus concept art and character models that you can browse through to get an even more complete Cars experience.

Tall Tales mode must be completed in a specific order which I found a little bit frustrating as I wanted to jump to the tales I really wanted to play. However, once you unlock the games in Tall Tales mode you are able to play them when you choose in Free Play mode or even pick any of the games and in any order using the Playlist mode. The game does feature multiplayer for up to four players and Free Play and Playlist mode are a lot of fun when playing in a group setting.


Mater's Tall Tales is a Mania game with Mania being "[an] accessible and frenzied pick-up-and-play experience... that rewards competitiveness and cooperative play among players and features immersive storytelling experiences that are appropriate for all ages.” On all of these accounts Mater's Tall Tales is completely successful. The story telling is fantastic and being able to play through the story will give you the sensation of actually having a role to play. With 30 games available there are also a lot of options when playing multiplayer. Whether you are a fan of Mater's Tall Tales or this is your first introduction, this title will provide you with some fun family gaming and might bring out a laugh or two along the way.


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