Parents need to know that “Trailblazers” is a downloadable sci-fi-themed racing game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch consoles, as well as Windows, Mac and Linux-based computers.

While there’s a solo campaign, the game has a heavy focus on working together with other racers as a team. In some cases, just helping your team get the win can be just as rewarding as actually being the first across the finish line. The game’s easy to pick up and play for gamers of all skill levels, and is about as violent as a round of bumper cars. Parents should be aware that there are some bits of innuendo, with “damn” used occasionally in dialogue, along with some references to drinking, but otherwise, there’s no inappropriate content.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

In the world of “Trailblazers,” when a driver says they’re out to make their mark on the track, they mean it … literally. Drivers in these futuristic sci-fi races paint the track as they go, leaving a colorful trail for their teammates to follow. Drive over a paint trail that matches your team color and you get a speed boost to power you past the competition. You can also play defensively and color over your opponents’ race lines to keep them from getting an edge. The game’s Story mode serves as an introduction to the gameplay and the “Trailblazers” cast of characters, but the clear focus of the game is hopping behind the wheel and taking on your friends in some frantic multiplayer, local and online, with and against up to eight rivals.

IS IT ANY GOOD?

When it comes to racing games, it can be hard to find something that genuinely feels original, but this racer feels like a classic with a new can of paint. Actually, “Trailblazers” does something completely different with that paint … mainly by letting players spill it out all over the track. The result is a team-based experience that’s fast and fun, with a little more thought involved than just putting the pedal to the metal.

The painting mechanic, especially in the 3v3 matches, opens up all kinds of unique team strategies.

“Trailblazers” is a great-looking game. It’s got a colorful, cartoonish style with a retro sci-fi design. It’s got sharp details, and runs smoothly even when you’re flying down the track at breakneck speed.

As good as it looks, though, the rest of the presentation is a bit lacking. The single-player story mode gets the players used to the different tracks with certain goals to accomplish, but ultimately, it feels like an extended tutorial or watered-down challenge mode. Players have certain objectives to reach in each race, but these are mainly practice for the competitive races. While the dialogue is full of cheesy one-liners, these do little to flesh out the drivers’ personalities.

Mind you, just the addition of a Story mode is more than most arcade racers offer, and it doesn’t detract from the overall fun of the game. In fact, even with the story mode’s flaws, “Trailblazers” winds up having plenty of horsepower to take the checkered flag.

RATING AND CONTENT

Recommended for ages 8 and older

Quality: 4 out of 5

Positive messages: 3 out of 5

Positive role models: 0 out of 5

Ease of play: 5 out of 5

Violence and scariness: 1 out of 5

Language: 1 out of 5

Consumerism: 0 out of 5

GAME DETAILS

Platforms: Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One

Price: $29.99

Developer: Rising Star Games

Release date: May 8, 2018

Genre: Racing

ESRB rating: E for mild fantasy violence, mild language, alcohol reference

Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org.

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