When Micro Machines V3 retained the series’ overhead viewpoint in 1997, the dreams of ’90s gamers were dashed.
All they wanted was to drive past champagne bottles that towered overhead in full 3D with a chase cam perspective. But behold! Table Top Racers never gave up on the dream through the decades that followed, and here we are with the World Tour Nitro Edition version of the game on Nintendo Switch.
Sure, it’s been out for 10 years across various formats, but with the Switch version now appearing in eShop sales, you need to know whether it’s worth picking up. Let’s find out.
It’s pretty much exactly like those old racers in its premise. Tiny toy cars race around tracks laid out between household items, and a good time is had by all. There’s also a weapons system featuring rockets, mines and – our favourite – ice blasts that turn your opponents into skidding ice cubes that slide off the table onto the floor.
There are drift events, hot lap challenges, pure racing speedfests and multi-race championships across several tiers of vehicles. And at the end of each championship, a cute cutscene sees the losing cars dropping into a recycling bin. Lolzorz.
Fundamentally, this is a strong racer in many of the ways that count. It’s got a 60fps frame rate which means smooth, solid action, even in two-player split screen.
The car handling is simple enough that most people will be able to get around the track, while still loose enough to keep veterans on their toes. You can also upgrade the spec of your current car by spending your winnings.
This also extends to a secondary weapon system, so you could, for instance, purchase wheels that give you extra cash when you lad a weapon hit, or wheels that afford you a shield for a few seconds, with an extended cooldown as the counterpoint. It’s a neat little tactical addition.
However, even though it looks decent enough with some very high-resolution textures, moves just fine and features many of the things you would name when designing the ideal racing game, it’s lacking in ‘wow’ moments.
Weapon effects are underplayed and rocket attacks don’t explode the other cars – simply respawning them would have been fine but, as it is, they just slow down for a bit, which is underwhelming. The track locales repeat too quickly, even if the layouts do change as you progress, adding to a rather samey-feeling experience despite the plethora of game types.
At least the challenge ramps up considerably, and you’ll need to either repeatedly try some events or come back later with faster cars to get the full 3 stars on every event.
The game does drip-feed new features as you progress, including enhanced versions of the standard weapons, giving you a beefed-up version if you pick up more than one item box on the track. Letting loose a volley of several missiles and watching them take out the racers ahead of you feels great.
There are also collectables to find in the environment giving you bonus credits, if you fire missiles at certain elements of the scenery, for example. But with rather underwhelming track layouts, it all feels a little ‘by numbers’, giving you the features you’d want but nothing more.
It’s a decent racer and, if you see it cheap, it’ll certainly keep you entertained for a few hours. But it’s never riotously fun, and that’s the biggest drawback. A perfectly good version of a decent game, then, but when all the *straightens tie* cars are on the table, it’s just lacking spark.
|Developer||Playrise Digital Limited|
|Release date||1st May 2019 (31 January 2013 originally)|
|Available platforms||PlayStation 4, Android, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, iOS, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch|
|Version tested||Nintendo Switch|
|Best played with||Nintendo Switch’s handheld mode|
Full disclosure: This game was purchased for review purposes. Here is our review policy.