Table Top Racing (Review) PSVita – Micro Machines-Style Racing

Table Top Racing (Review) PSVita – Micro Machines-Style Racing
Review Score:

Developed by Playrise Digital, Table Top Racing is a simple, but aesthetically pleasing racing game that invokes childhood memories of playing Codemasters’ Micro Machines for Sega Genesis. Comprised of 8 miniature race tracks that sit on large tabletops, you must race against AI controlled opponents in a variety of environments that contain obstacles and hairpin turns.

The game starts the player with a relatively slow ice cream truck that controls like a tank. While Table Top Racing contains 17 cars that are fully upgradable, they must be purchased with the money won from each race. Until enough money is earned to purchase a faster vehicle, Table Top Racing incorporates a ‘Garage’ feature where you can upgrade your current vehicle’s Speed, Acceleration and Grip, to name just a few. There is also an option to purchase new tires or paint.

The game contains three different seasons – Bronze, Silver and Gold. These ‘seasons’ are divided into smaller race events with their own ‘win’ conditions. The Bronze season, for example, serves as a tutorial since it introduces the player to the game’s controls and gameplay mechanics. Both Silver and Gold provide more of a challenge, as you must maintain a 3rd place position during most of the races. Some events are more demanding, as they require the player to ‘beat the clock’ or ‘bump an enemy’ to proceed to the next race. Once you complete the final race, the next season will unlock.

Similar to Mario Kart, the gameplay is comprised of simple steering mechanics. Regardless of the race track, difficult corners are easy to navigate at high speeds. Moreover, you can decelerate during a hairpin turn and still maintain control over your vehicle. The AI controlled vehicles can be tricky; they have a tendency of pushing you off the track or using an EMP weapon to stall your engine before a race ends. During this review, I noticed that the CPU will deliberately wait seconds before the finish line to attack your vehicle with a rocket or EMP.  This issue was easily remedied by saving the ‘Nitro’ boost power up until the very end of the race.

Once you have completed each season, you can test your driving skills in Drift Events mode or complete the challenges in Special Events, which involve using weapons on certain targets, ramming opponents, and racing against the clock, to name just a few. An online multiplayer feature does exist, but it was difficult to find players during this review. It’s a shame really; the game shines the most when more than one person is playing.

Graphically, Table Top Racing’s toy-like tracks, adorned with cereal boxes, juice containers and childrens toys, set the atmosphere. The plastic toy appearance for each vehicle is very convincing, and it looks great on the PSVita’s OLED display. The game stays at a constant 60FPS, even when there is a lot of action on-screen; it’s impressive to say the very least.

Table Top Racing is a solid contender in a genre that is sorely lacking on PSVita. Even if gamers are too young to remember Micro Machines on 16-bit consoles, they need to do themselves a favor and play this game; it’s worth the price of admission.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: PSVita (Available on PSN)
Developer: Playrise Digital
Publisher: Playrise Digital
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Price: $7.99

Table Top Racing’s Official Website

Review Score
Bright, crisp car models and imaginative racetracks.
A light-hearted soundtrack compliments the carnage-filled racing action.
Challenging gameplay, smooth controls, and a great vehicle upgrade system, prevents the game from growing stale.
Not since Codemaster's Micro Machines has there been a racing game as good as Table Top Racing.

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