Published on August 25th, 2014 | by Joseph Saulnier0
Table Top Racing for PS Vita
Do you remember Micro Machines? You know; those tiny cars that you collected as a kid. They also made several (successful) video games with the franchise. Whatever happened to them? Not really here to answer that question, but if you have been jonesing for the nostalgia of it all, look no further than Table Top Racing (“TTR”). It is very clear that there is a little Micro Machine influence in Playrise Digital’s PS Vita port from the mobile gaming field; but can it hold up?
Coming from part of the team that brough you PGR, Wipeout, Bang Bang Racing and others, pressure was mounted for a game that started as F2P mobile devices. If you ask me, the studio nailed it with TTR. Some might say it would take a while to really enjoy this game, but for me, I was addicted right out of the gate… or off the starting line as it were.
Visually it is nice, with the mini vehicles racing around various crafted tracks in locations around the home. The tracks are clearly made up of things you would find around the house from board games to food. There is nothing super standout here, but it’s fun to see something different in a racer these days. The action in the game is fun, with clear influences from some of the more popular “kart-racing games” than from Micro Machines. I have seen complaints of the lack of speed feeling, or inertia, to the early races, but I see this as a way great way to adapt users to the game. As you progress through the game and unlock new vehicles, the speed and pace of the game does ramp up, though. As does the challenge to the races and events. The races become more about getting the lead and romping home. The AI in this game is beautifully crafted and presents a real challenge, even to some of the veteran racers out there.
There is a fair amount of offline content available, with a few championships to compete in, as well as various drift events, special events and the industry standard quick races. There is also online content as well, either by creating a LAN, or going global online. It is the online that the game is at its very best, though, as the racing becomes pretty intense. The lack of options besides a basic race is a bit disappointing, but it is still a blast.
Despite the number of Championships being low, the balance is well crafted. The mixture of event types in each championship stops the progress through the game from becoming monotonous. Championships could include standard combat races (where all weapons are available), as well as pure races with power-ups disabled. Mixed in with these are various time trial, hot-lap 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 time objectives. As you progress through the championships, getting three stars is far from easy. The AI can be quite brutal and will push you all the way, so learning the tracks and how best to use power-ups will be vital to your success. 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 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.
There are also in-game purchases available, where you can buy coins that are used to upgrade your vehicles, wheels and paint jobs. The wheels are not just for show in this game either, they actually have use and abilities that become helpful in some of the combat races. If I had one gripe with the game, it had to do with the coin purchases. Now mind you, I didn’t purchase a coin pack, but rather was provided several from the studio. However, I could not get them to show up in the game. This may not be an issue with the title though, possibly just with my account, and it is something that I am still trying to work out with PSN to see why they were not attributed to my account.
All that said, Table Top Racing isn’t a game that will rock most people’s world, but it isn’t a bad game either. I personally found it to be quite addictive, and very distracting on a 6-hour flight that I was recently on. Would I purchase this game? Definitely! I don’t believe I would purchase any coins in-game, though; I would naturally progress through the game and earn coins the normal way. But this definitely one to grab and play when you have some down time. The quickness of the game, and the fast loading times, make it ideal for quick commutes or Doctor Office waiting rooms.
4.5 stars out of 5