Pixar always puts out great movies, and Cars was no exception. The movie has had such incredible popularity, in fact, that crossovers are readily visible in all sorts of places, from shoes to lunch boxes to an wide assortment of toys still being produced. Suffice it to say that Cars is one of the more enduring recent properties in Disney's portfolio, and as a result, out come the inevitable games. This is the second of three released thus far. And it's not great.
Basically a retread (sorry, bad pun) of the original game, Mater-National features... lots of racing. The races are kid-ified... if you go off the track for more than a second or so, the game places you back on the track. In addition, with available cheat codes (the Options menu has a place to enter them in... clearly the game doesn't discourage them) the racing is simple.
There are also a number of minigames. Car tag, relays (basically a regular race except that you have to drive through the next car at the finish line), a "fuel economy" environmentalist game and a Guitar Hero-esque rhythm game (rather out of place) are mixed in with the races. Also is the inevitable "Tractor Tipping" minigames where Mater essentially has to travel a maze to tip all the tractors within a time limit.
The graphics are somewhat troublesome. The camera angle is often inconvenient, tracks have invisible walls, occasionally you can fall through the level into nothing... Annoying glitches that shouldn't exist. Some of the tracks are very hard to see, and to know even which way to drive. These are all distracting and detract from the enjoyability of the game.
In fact, the most enjoyable things about this game were the cutscenes, where the banter between the characters hearkened back to the fun and charisma of the movie. It's a shame when I looked forward to the next cutscene rather than the next race, especially when the races are predictable, and several repeat without any obvious reason except to extend the game.
The game gives 1000 easy gamerscore, but not as easy as other "easy" games. There's a bit of grinding involved, and a collectible hunt that was surprisingly annoying. Although the 1000 was obtainable, it wasn't really worth the time I put into it (and I'm pretty liberal about how I get my points).
In all, this game is only worth a rental at best, and perhaps not even that. If you're looking to pad your gamerscore, this will work... but you may lose a bit of your soul doing it. It's a shame to see such a wonderful movie reduced to this.