It was back in 2014 when I was introduced to Table Top Racing as a free-to-play title for the Android platform. Back then I could see the full potential of the title as well as it being a real fun racer and the closest we would get to the beloved Micro Machines franchise. Fast forward to March 10th 2017 and I have now seen that potential take form. Playrise Digital has certainly expanded on the original and produced a great Toy Car racing experience with well-balanced gameplay.
Table Top Racing: World Tour has three modes of play on offer all providing something a little different. You have Championship Mode, Special Events Mode and Online Multiplayer. There are twelve Championships over three car classes giving you four in each class. Not all of them are opened to begin with, they will unlock as you complete current Championships. Each one is made up of a selection of race types and I must admit I love them all. While they are pretty much your run of the mill race types, it doesn’t stop them being a whole load of fun. The types on offer are, Combat Race; Weapons free race; Elimination; Hot Lap; Time Trial; Pursuit and Drift Challenge. If I had to choose a favourite it would probably be the Drift Challenge as it can be the most challenging apart from Pursuit and Combat racing.
Just like in Mario Kart the car classes represent the difficulty of the Championships. The Cult Classics are your amateur level, Street Racers are the pro level and Supercars are your expert level. Apart from the type of cars you will be using with the higher difficulty, you have more races to complete. To get to the Final race which is a serious of combat races for points, you must come at least third in each event. The team have done a great job in mixing up the race types, and making it so that specific cars will yield better results. A great example of this I found is using the Apex GT’85 car in the Drift Challenge events as this has the best drift ability out of all sixteen cars. As you progress through the Championships you will be able to go back and use any of the cars in previous Championship’s to obtain all the stars in each of the events. For example using the Street Racers in the Cult Classics Championships which comes in handy if you are looking to gain maximum the achievement score.
When you start the game, you are given your first car for free, which is a selection of the cult classics. Once you buy the car you will earn coins through races, combat and collecting well placed and well-hidden coins at each location. I will talk more about this later in the review. You will also have XP to level up which becomes useful in the Special Events. You will be able to upgrade each of the cars you buy which will impact the cars performance and speed. Your Top Speed, Acceleration, Handling and Armour is all upgradable and can be tweaked as need be to suit your driven taste. The cars themselves just look so God damn cute and there are already a few favourites I have. From the Supercars class I must say the Fauxrari is just awesome and the Brawler from the Cult Classics is quite cool. There are a couple of nice word play in naming the cars like the McHandful which I automatically see as McLaren. Two other things you will be able to buy are Body Paint and the Wheels. It is the wheels that can give advantages and disadvantages. Once you buy a wheel set it is transferable over all the cars in the game.
This brings us on the next thing which is how the game plays, and I must say I am enjoying the combat system that has been implemented. When it comes to battle races you will have a choice of seven different power-ups from a firework, Bomb, to a booster. Pretty much a standard affair in these games, but Playrise Digital has managed to do what Mario Kart refuses to. That one thing we all ask Nintendo to do, and that is to get rid of the rubber band style gameplay. I must say that this game seems to have pretty much solved the issue and the power-ups also appear to be more random in selection. While it still feels a little bit like the AI cheating, it is almost non-existent. While this game is purely table top arcade racing for toy cars, it seems that there are some brutal toy car physics thrown in for good measure. Hit a car in the side and you will lose all steering and find yourself in the wall or off the table. This may feel unfair at first, yet I have come around to the fact that the exact same thing would happen to real toy cars.
So, let’s talk about the locations and tracks on offer in this game. There are nine locations on offer all with various track routes to race around. There is a Yo Sushi restaurant, Junk Yard, Desert/Egypt style location, Cruise Ship, Chop Shop, Snow Lodge, 80’s Bedroom (one of my favourite) and a beach. There are four different routes for each location and while you may think that is small it will surprise you how different some of the layouts make the tracks feel. These tracks are not just for racing either as at each location you can collect large bonus coins. There are gold, silver and bronze coins which can be route dependant as well as needing a certain wheel equipped, so always keep an eye out. There are also hazards on the course representative of the locations, for example the 80’s room had pool balls and Rubik’s cubes etc. and the snow lodge comes with large snowballs. All these items don’t just present themselves to hamper you but also make racing the courses highly enjoyable. There are so many memories on the 80’s track for me. Apart from finding shortcuts on the track there is one more thing you can do to gain that upper advantage. You can use interactive scenery. This when pulled off right can be very funny, like you can get the till to open in the Sushi restaurant, yup I fell fowl to that one, or on the ship you can create an avalanche of items spilling out on to the track.
OK so you have driven yourself to legendary status in the toy car world by beating all the Championship’s, so what do you do now? Well take part in the Special Events of course, but you may wonder what’s the difference? Well in Special Events you can only use a certain car, Wheel and need a certain level of XP to unlock each of these events and there are over 150 to test your toy driving skills. The fact that you are held to certain requirements makes this way more challenging than going through the Championship’s. If you have completed these then you will want to take yourself online and see how you hold up globally. Online you can host a public game, friends only game or join a game. When you host a game, you can select the track, route, no. of laps, car class, upgrades on or off, weapon wheels on or off and weapons pickups on or off. I would have liked to have had the choice to play all the different race types online but maybe this could be added in the future. Gameplay online is pretty much just as smooth as offline, my only issue is that you need to unlock the cars before using them online.
Graphically this game looks awesome and would not be out of place alongside Micro Machines or Mario Kart. They are vibrant and full of colour emphasising the Micro Machines and Mario Kart inspiration. The games frame rate runs ultra-smooth and I have not experienced any graphical issues whatsoever. The track locations look amazing with a few locations that really stand out, like the 80’s room and the snow lodge room to name just a couple. The sound track is not too bad either with a couple of rave type tracks thrown in that don’t sound out of place.
The Good Things
- Well Balanced Combat
- Good selection of Toy Cars with their own characteristics
- Some great track designs and hunting out the bonus coins is fun
And The Bad
- Would love the track count to rise hopefully via possible DLC
- Playing through the Championships in lengthy sessions can become repetitive
- Having to unlock each car for online may put some people off
- You can clearly see where Playrise Digital got their inspiration from with titles like Mario Kart and Micro Machines evident. The team for me have pretty much nailed the combat in Table Top Racing: World Tour by making the weapon pick-ups much more random than in the likes of Mario Kart. This is a title that you certainly shouldn’t take at just face value as the deeper you get into it the more fun there is to be had. The mix of on-track weapons and your choice of what wheels you use gives some fun strategies during races. This is also not just a great and fun combat racer to play but also to look at as well. We may have Micro Machines later this year, but this is certainly a title to fill the void and then some. I also hope that Playrise Digital will consider bringing out DLC in the form of more cars and tracks.
Addictive and well balanced combat racer that gets better the more you play.