Micro Machines was a damned fine series of games, working brilliantly, both in single player and local multiplayer variations. It was the ideal party game. However it has been a long time since not only the games, but indeed the toys were popular, but there are some who still loved what was on offer and it is clear the is a little influence in Playrise Digital’s Table Top Racing.
The team behind Table Top Racing have a pretty good pedigree too with many coming from the now defunct Studio Liverpool and having worked on the likes of the under appreciated Bang Bang Racing, as well as PGR, Wipeout and Fur Fighters, among others. It kind of puts a bit of pressure on a game that started out as a Free 2 Play on mobile devices.
Table Top Racing is actually somewhat of a slow burner and takes a while to actually become enjoyable to play. Visually it is nice, with the miniature vehicles racing around various crafted tracks in locations around the home, but it isn’t anything to write home about.
The action isn’t exactly anything majorly game changing either, it essentially boils down to being a by the numbers combat racer, that feels more like it is influenced from games such as Crash Team Racing and Mario Kart than it is Micro Machines, which is a little disappointing when you first start the game. Especially as there is a distinct lack of speed to early races and events, it lacks the inertia you come to expect in games like this.
That said though, as you progress and unlock new vehicles, the speed does ramp up, as does the challenge and what you will find is that despite many of your early worries are all but gone and you are enjoying the game, the AI becomes more challenging and winning isn’t just a case of getting the lead and romping home. Which in a single player mode is essential.
There is a fair amount on offer offline, with a few Championships to compete in, as well as various drift events, special events and the standard quick races. It is possible to play online also, either by hooking up numerous Vita units on the same network, or globally online. It is here that the game is at its very best, as the racing is fun and intense, but the lack of options aside from a basic race is disappointing, but at least online is included which isn’t always the case with games like this.
Despite the number of Championships seeming like very little, the balance is well crafted. The mixture of event types in each championship stops the progress becoming monotonous. There are the standard combat races, where all weapons are available, as well as pure races with powerups disabled. Those are mixed with various time trial, hotlap and pursuit events.
Winning at these events will eventually unlock more events and championships, with each event having a star rating system. So win a race and get three stars, finish third get 1, or meet the various tine objectives. Getting three stars is far from easy too, as the AI can be quite brutal and will push you all the way, so learning the tracks and how best to use powerups will be vital to your progression.
Whilst the various vehicles are easy to control, it isn’t simply a case of hold down accelerate and go, you do need to use the brake button at points and work out the best path through each track to get the best possible times, or find the shortcuts to gain those all important positions.
Table Top Racing isn’t a game that will rock your world, but it isn’t a bad game either. What you have here is a fun racer that is nice to break out every now and again, something that can be enjoyed in small bursts when you have small window of time to kill. Unfortunately it isn’t deep enough to be a must have, must play title, because it is be pretty much finished in a few short hours and any longevity will only come if you can find online games, or get a few friends together for a session or two.
We must also mention that there are some In App Purchases for buying coins to use in the game, however, we never once felt that the progression was being held back in an attempt to make us spend extra money. The game costs £4.99 and that can pretty much be that. In fact we failed to see the need for the IAP option at all, because the game doesn’t feel long enough that you need to skip a grind, it feels more like something that was part of the Android / iOS versions and just not taken out.
Not a must own title, but for less than five pound, you get a fun casual game that will get rid of boredom for a little while. You’ll play a lot better, but you’ll certainly play a hell of a lot worse.