I loved Micro Machines as a kid, remember those pocket sized vehicles that you could collect and play with endlessly?
Then Code-masters made a video game which was a success based on these pint sized racers which in turn sparked a whole range of follow up games until Code-masters dispersed in 2006 along with the Micro Machines brand. No it’s not back I’m afraid, instead we have a lookalike from Playrise Digital called Table Top Racing which made its fame on mobile devices but has now made a transition to Sony’s powerful handheld.
Like Micro Machines, Table Top Racing is a racing game which puts you in control of a toy vehicle of which you are required to compete in a variety of racing events atop some household environments. It’s a fun premise for a racer with vehicles ranging from sports cars to ice cream trucks but the best feature is the tracks. They aren’t the most exciting tracks but the backgrounds make them fun to race around with things like a kitchen table full of utensils and food and a garage workbench. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything more than the four environments available with the tracks being mirrored for longevity.
The game-play is a simplified, less polished version of Mario Kart. Players control their car from a third person perspective with a button for throttle and brake and also a button for ability in some events. The Vita’s gyroscope can also be used to turn the vehicle although tilting the Vita whilst trying to navigate the tracks isn’t very easy. Table Top Racing doesn’t feel as tight and as responsive as Mario Kart but it is a nice solid racer with a very slight learning curve and it is ideal for short pick up and play snippets. Some events require the use of pickups which are littered in certain points on the tracks ranging from boosts to attacks against opponent vehicles. As awesome as it sounds, it isn’t executed very well. Boosts only make your vehicle go a mile or two per hour faster and attacks only slow your opponents down a little bit making you wonder why they are even included in the game.
Events on offer range from straight up races, tournaments, time trial events and other modes such as a catch up event requiring you to overtake an opponent who is granted a head start. At the end of each event you are awarded up to three stars which can be used to unlock more vehicles and upgrades and its very addictive trying to get all of the stars available.
Table Top Racing is not a visually attractive game. Environments are roughly presented and bland and tracks are not very exciting which is a shame knowing what kind of visuals we know the Vita can handle. There is a nice variety of vehicles to unlock though each with a unique miniature look and feel to them with a small body and bigger than usual wheels with notable additions being the Hot-Diggety-Dog and the Bunnymobile.
Not the Micro Machines game we all wanted, Table Top Racing is a pleasant but forgettable racing game with a nice childish charm but it’s terrible mechanics and grubby visuals pulls on its shirt dragging it back. Cars handle sluggish and the inclusion of attack pickups and boosts are pointless. Worth playing if it becomes free with PS Plus.
Story - 2/5
Graphics - 2/5
Game-play - 2/5
Overall - 2/5
Version Reviewed - PS Vita