01st May2019

‘Table Top Racing: World Tour – Nitro Edition’ Review (Switch)

by Phil Wheat

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Remember the heyday of Micro Machines? Those tiny little diecast cars that kids, at least of my generation, went crazy for… Well if you’re old enough to remember the toys, then you’re surely old enough to remember the video games! Spanning multiple consoles, including (but not limited to) the Sega Megadrive, Commodore Amiga and the Nintendo NES – the version of the game I loved the most – Micro Machines saw players race, fight and generally cause havoc across a variety of household settings in a top-down racing game that mixed odd, unfamiliar landscapes (billard table anyone?), with ridiculously frenetic gameplay. I for one LOVED it!

Over the years there have been many new iterations of that original game, including the final game in the franchise, a PSOne/PSP version, Micro Machines V4, which was released back in 2006. There have also been a number of similar games released that have tried to capture the same magic as the original games – including the VS. Racing franchise and Toybox Turbos (from Codemasters creators of the original Micro Machines video game)… and the Table Top Racing franchise which started, in 2013, on iOS, later moving to consoles.

The latest iteration of Table Top Racing, Table Top Racing: World Tour – Nitro Edition has taken a leaf out of the Micro Machines playbook when it comes to level design – you race round minature condstruction sites, a slice of dockland and even a table top/conveyor belt at Yo Sushi! In fact there are 32 table-top circuits spread across 8 diverse locations. All of which have the kind of level design that made *THOSE* old-school top-down racing games so much fun, totally capturing what made those old-school Micro Machine levels so great, only this time in three dimensions.

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The main gameplay in Table Top Racing: World Tour – Nitro Edition consists of a series of different race types to win in the game’s single-player mode, including:

  • Combat - where you can pick up nitro boosts and weapons to give you advantage over the other competitors.
  • Time Trial - where you have to complete laps in an alloted time, the faster the time the more stars and XP you receive.
  • Hot Lap - literally do your “hottest” i.e. best lap. The fastest lap you can. But only AFTER you finish will you know if you beat that courses best lap time limit.
  • Pure Race - As per the title. This is a race against other competitors with no power ups, no weapons. You have to rely on skill, corner cutting and the odd dirty tactic (which is NOT frowned upon) to win.

Being a racing game, there are many, many vehicles to take charge of in Table Top Racing: World Tour, all of which can be unlocjed as you play; and all of which have different handling and responsiveness which can help or hinder a particular race or environment. Of course no arcade-style racing game today can not feature power-ups (thanks Mario Kart), and Table Top Racing: World Tour – Nitro Edition features a plethora of power-ups and boosts too – some of which work in your favour, others which seem wasted – in particular those weapons that you shoot off behind you, with no knowledge of who, or if, it will hit. But then that’s pretty much the case with all “kart” racers isn’t ?

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I had a LOT of fun with  Table Top Racing: World Tour but it was not without a few niggles, the biggest of which was the controls… Unfortunately the games controller configuration fails to mention you can actually just use A to accelerate, it states you use the right thumbstick to accelerate and brake and the left thumbstick to steer; which is definitely more of a test of hand to eye co-ordination and physical dexterity than driving skill! Use the A button folks, trust me, its a hell of a lot easier.

Thankfully this version of the game, launching exclusively on Nintendo Switch, features the the original game, Table Top Racing: World Tour, with all previously released downloadable content and updates. And with brand new online or local 2 player split-screen gameplay, Table Top Racing: World Tour – Nitro Edition is packed with over 30 hours of single player challenges and countless more hours with the game 8 player online battles – which means plenty of game for your money!

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Table Top Racing: World Tour is at once a throwback to another era and a fantastic revival for a genre of video gaming that has long-since been left behind in this day and age of graphically perfect, physics accurate, racing games. This is the type of game that is made to be enjoyed, to be picked up and played on a whim (perfect or the Switch then), to laugh at, get frustrated with but most of all to be appreciated.

Table Top Racing: World Tour – Nitro Edition is available on the Nintendo eShop from today, May 1st.

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