10/05/2019

๐ŸŽ️๐Ÿ Review: Table Top Racing: World Tour - Nitro Edition "A nice drive that loses control occasionally…before hitting a wall" ๐ŸŽ️๐Ÿ #GameDev #IndieGame

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Game Title: Table Top Racing: World Tour - Nitro Edition
Developer: Playrise Digital
Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Rating: Melting

The genre of arcade racing has long been one of my favourites, from the days of Super Sprint to the Amiga PD gem High Octane, the isometric fun of Super Off-Road, the inevitable Micro Machines and not forgetting PS2 classic Mashed (and under-appreciated pseudo-sequel Wrecked) the genre is a staple of gaming days at mine for literally decades. Table Top Racing is a neat spin on the genre by bringing in a Mario Kart sensibility to the miniaturised racing theme, the game, however, has a history stretching back to 2013 that does cast a shadow on the current Switch release.

In 2013, Table Top Racing was released as an iOS game, for those not aware, mobile gaming is pretty much the one style of gaming I almost completely avoid as it just doesn’t remove my trousers and never really has. Not only is this effectively a mobile port but the game was also released on PlayStation 4 in 2016 and is, at the time of writing available for £7.99 on the PSN Store. Admittedly the Switch version is the slightly more updated ‘Nitro Edition’ but whether or not that constitutes a price rise to £24.99 is one I’d have to leave up to each individual purchaser. Whilst this may all seem a bit too much, I will say that Mario Kart aside, it’s the best ‘mini-racer’ I’ve yet played on the Switch.

Background aside, let’s move on to the game itself. It runs at a rock solid 60 FPS in single player which was really nice to see and so mostly the game is ultra-smooth (local play can see some slight drops to the frame-rate but nothing major). I happened to be travelling when I received this for review and so banged in a good few hours on trains and in hotels etc. mostly in the single-player mode. The main ‘campaign’ consists of getting star ratings in various events, there’s nothing too unusual here, straight races, time trials, weapon pickups and elimination events all of which add a nice variety to the game but the further I got into the game the more a few things dawned on me.

Firstly, the game starts off pretty tediously, the first couple of races seemed really underwhelming and bland as your car is so basic and sluggish, it’s only when you whack on a few upgrades to the handling, speed and acceleration etc. That the game becomes more interesting and tactics are required on each track. This raise in fun an interest (as well as the satisfying weapons) kept me going for a few hours until I started the third or fourth championship and realised I was completely behind the pack and, especially in one race where I had to catch up and collide with an opponent as quickly as possible, even with flawless laps, picking up every boost and taking shortcuts, I was nowhere near them…and it dawned on me….I would have to grind, wouldn’t I? The game expected me to replay previous cups (which I had already three-starred) to get enough cash to max out the upgrades. It was a bit of a shame as it removed the sense of progress and felt like a hangover of the mobile pay-wall days, not what you want in an essentially full-price game.
The game features 32 tracks but these are set over a handful of different locations and so they feel familiar and dare I say repetitive after a while. I also noticed some slight issues with collision detection, especially on some corners that had various track items jutting out, I’d be taking a corner extremely tightly and bounce off something I was pretty sure I should have just flown by, it’s a slight irritation but not a deal-breaker. There’s also a Yo! Sushi themed level which is actually one of the better tracks and quite distinctive. The one element of the game that was so bad I had to turn it off was the music. A constant thudding selection of dance tracks, some with full vocals that just didn’t match the lightheartedness and tone of the game itself. Within minutes I had to mute the music, it’s clearly personal preference but I find any soundtrack with vocal tracks just gets repetitive super fast, instrumentals seem to fit every genre better as a mood-enhancer as opposed to just feeling like someone is playing their CD collection loudly behind you as you race.

Summary I really enjoyed (and continue to enjoy) my time with Table Top Racing, admittedly, with the grind element in place now I dash in for a race or two as opposed to plowing through the tournament as I’d prefer and I do wish that the local gameplay allowed for either four players or perhaps a local co-op tournament as in the PS2’s Rumble Racing but it is a very solid title as it stands….if you are willing to pay the price.
๐Ÿ’ง❄️ RATING: MELTING ❄️๐Ÿ’ง

Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

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