Table Top Racing Vita Review
Back in the days of the PlayStation 2 there was a racing game that held a special place in a lot of gamers memories. It wasn’t however the Gran Turismo series but rather a game featuring miniature cars and their attempts to race around the human world, that game was Micro Machines. Table Top Racing from Playrise Digital attempts to reignite those fond memories for the PlayStation Vita.
While the Micro Machines is a clear inspiration for this title it opts for a behind the car view, as opposed to an isometric one. This instantly makes it feel far more like a kart racer, something that is further cemented by the use of weapons. There aren’t any particularly original options but they all serve their tactical purpose with a boost, missile, mines and shock to stall those around you.
In terms of race variety there’s a fastest lap(s), standard race (with or without weapons), elimination (last place removed every lap) and multi race championships. There is an attempt to freshen it up with special events using specific cars or objectives and drift events, both of which are welcome and fun additions. As racing games go there’s plenty of variety to keep things interesting.
The controls are responsive with enough looseness to fit the kart racer mould and make it feel exciting to attempt a tight corner at speed, at least later in the game. As per the usual racing trope the game does start off with the slowest of cars and the more pedestrian races but keep with it and things do pick up. Each car handles in a distinctive manner with fast cars compromising on grip while slower vehicles are far easier to handle. These can range from classic sports and muscle cars to an ice cream truck and a rabbit.
The only criticism about the controls is the odd placement of the rear view on the rear touch pad, often resulting in it changing view when simply trying to grip the console. Unfortunately there appears to be no way to adjust this so it’ll have to be something you have to get used to.
Table Top Racing is a very bright game and there’s no denying the charm of the tracks littered with muffins, cakes and other household items. It doesn’t quite capture that same magic that Micro Machines did back in the day but drifting round an ketchup bottle does still bring a smile to the face. Graphically it’s not going to win any awards for the amount of the Vita’s horsepower it’s using but by no means is it bad looking. The models and environments are solid although finding out its roots are in the mobile phone market aren’t surprisingly and are clear to see.
Table Top Racing offers both local and online multiplayer for those wanting to play against their friends. Connecting to fellow racers online did prove to be something of an issue due to the lack of people playing. However once on the track there didn’t appear to be any issues or lag in the games we played.
In game currency is earnt throughout your races and can be spent on new cars, paint jobs and wheels. Cars all have different attributes but it’s the wheel types that stand out as a unique feature. Not only can they make cars handle differently but there are also wheels that allow the cars to jump, something that can help create shortcuts in races, and ones that have blades to create even more impact when tussling with other cars.
All in all it can be a game that you may want to sink many hours into with the combination of multiplayer, numerous race types and the wealth of vehicles alongside the customisation of them. Players can shortcut their way to coin fortune through micro transactions but fortunately with a bit of grinding you can still reach the same ends.
Table Top Racing game may have come from a mobile background it instantly feels at home on the Vita. The bite size races perfectly fit the handheld market and the controls are even tighter with the analog sticks. While it may not be the most ambitious racer out there, the amount of content and charm on offer for its £4.99 entry price is impressive.