Paw Patrol: Grand Prix review (PS5)

We previewed Paw Patrol: Grand Prix after playing it at Gamescom, and a few weeks later we’ve been able to play the full game, which is out now for all major systems courtesy of Outright Games, who once again have a big lineup of family-friendly titles ready to go this season. We checked out the PlayStation 5 version.

Paw Patrol: Grand Prix comes after three platformers starring the popular pups, so the shift to a kart racer was a welcome change. It’s also one that makes a lot of sense, because the vehicles you’re in appear in pretty much every episode of the show, and feature heavily in the associated toy lineup as well.

It also wasn’t a massive leap for Outright, as they worked with developer 3DClouds on the game, who were previously the team behind racing games based on IPs like Blaze, Fast & Furious Spy Racers and Race with Ryan. They can pretty much claim the entire kid-friendly racer market outside of Mario Kart, and it’s no surprise that Paw Patrol: Grand Prix feels similar to some of the games the studio developed earlier.

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For instance, Paw Patrol: Grand Prix includes the auto-drive option that Blaze also had, which lets a young player play with a ton of driving assists turned on. You also get the four player split screen option that other 3DClouds games have had, which lets parents play together with their kids. The game also accounts for differences in abilities through rubber-banding mechanics that make sure the field always stays together. Frustrating for those who take things very seriously, but a good way to keep little ones in the race.

Those little ones will absolutely love that the core cast is all here, as are some additional pups like Everest, Rex and Tracker – though those have to be unlocked. That core cast also includes Ryder this time, and all the characters are voiced by either the TV show voice actor or soundalikes. Aside from the original theme song being missing, there’s a lot of recognition and fan service here. There are even a few custom made cutscenes, to give everything the feel of a real episode.

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Paw Patrol: Grand Prix is relatively low on game modes, with a single player Adventure mode and quick/custom races in addition to the local multiplayer action. You’ve got twelve tracks spread across four locations, with a bit of added variation coming from the fact that you can also play them at nighttime. Track layouts aren’t super exciting though, especially compared to the likes of Mario Kart or Team Sonic Racing. This does make things more accessible for young players though, which is of course the core audience here.

The game borrows attack mechanics from the likes of Mario Kart and Outright’s own Fast & Furious, with standard pickups as well as character-specific moves you have to charge up. For instance, Chase can turn on a siren which temporarily slows down the other racers near him, which is great when you want to snatch that win at the last moment. Not all of these abilities feel equally useful, but they all fit their characters well, and in a game like this that’s probably more important than winning.

For young Paw Patrol fans, this is brilliant stuff. Older gamers will recognize that there are much better kart games out there, but Paw Patrol: Grand Prix gets the basics right for its target audience and that makes it a solid purchase.

Score: 7.0/10

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