As you might expect, Cars for the Game Boy Advance is a racing game that's based loosely on the events that took place in the Disney-Pixar film of the same name. You assume the role of Lightning McQueen and watch the story unfold by winning a multitude of time trials, road races, and track races. For the most part, the racing action is solid and easy to get the hang of, and the game as a whole is pleasing to the eye. The limited number of events, though, combined with the lack of any multiplayer features, means that you probably won't get more than one or two days' worth of play out of this one before you're done with it.
These cars have eyes. Spooky.
Action out on the track is depicted from a top-down, isometric perspective. The tracks are sufficiently detailed and have a fair number of cones and trees that you can knock around. Dust is kicked up when you drive over dirt surfaces, and skid marks are left behind if you fishtail on pavement. If you look closely, you'll also notice that the cars' wheels rotate. Each of the vehicles resembles a character from the movie, complete with big goofy eyes and front grilles that look eerily like teeth. The only other obvious links to the film are the dialogue scenes that appear after each race, which feature the likenesses of characters and various humorous comments. The game doesn't incorporate any of the music from the movie, or any voice snippets, but the engine and skid sound effects that form the in-race soundtrack are satisfyingly loud and fit the action perfectly.
The GBA certainly has its fair share of isometric-view racing games. Karnaaj Rally made a big splash a few years ago, charming players with its weapons-oriented gameplay, while, more recently, Racing Gears Advance has been gaining fans thanks to intricate track designs and customizable vehicles. Cars takes a more simplified approach. There aren't any weapons to use or parts to install. It's just you, as Lightning McQueen, competing against three other CPU opponents. Despite the simple design, the game manages to keep things fresh by shaking up how the different events work. Road races and time trials take place on twisty courses that snake along country roads lined with a combination of asphalt, dirt, and gravel. You have to watch out for turbo pads and road blocks, as well as the slow-moving vehicles that frequently get in the way. Piston Cup races, by contrast, take place on paved oval tracks and don't involve any turbo pads or obstacles. They do, however, let you earn and abuse a nitro boost by tailgating your opponents.