Pixar's Cars has made a bigger splash than most film-to-game adaptations, appearing on just about every current system on a single day. But what's especially unusual about the PSP version of Cars is that it isn't a watered-down port of the free-roaming console game (which we reviewedhere). Instead, it's a pure racing game that enables players to tear through three-lap tracks in the little town of Radiator Springs.
For a PSP game, Cars looks incredible. The talking-car protagonists are rendered almost as well as they are in the console version, with moving eyes and crisply rendered lips (and like their console counterparts, they never, ever shut up). The tracks look even better, giving players a sharp look at the rocky cliffs, scrub-filled desert and cave-filled mountains surrounding the town. A lot of them are also dynamic, meaning that you'll run into a lot of crashing rubble and destructible objects that can help or hinder your progress along the track.
The courses are well-designed from a gameplay standpoint as well, filled with lots of hidden paths and huge, secret jumps that can rapidly put you ahead of the competition. (The green arrows that speed you up when you run over them are a little silly, but realism really isn't an issue in a game about talking cars.)
Interestingly, a lot of the secret paths require some action from the player in order to open them up, like jumping at just the right time to hit a target that calls over a firetruck, thereby opening up a road he was blocking. These shortcuts are often essential to winning in the game's story mode, though, and that's where problems begin.