12th Nov2020

‘Micro Pico Racers’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

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 “homages” that have made their way to Apple’s App Store and consoles over the years too, including the VS. Racing franchise and Table Top Racing. I’m still, to this day, hunting for a top-down racer that will capture the same magic I felt when I played first iteration on the NES back in the early 90s… Which is why I just HAD to check out Micro Pico Racers – which on paper (and in screenshots) looked like the game I was looking for.

It’s not. Though it desperately wants to be.

Micro Pico Racers biggest flaw it that it’s just not fun. Not in the slightest. It certainly looks the part, though the visuals all reminded me of the track-based racing of the likes of Pole Position rather than the colourful graphics of Codemasters classic franchise. However the gameplay throws everything that is usually enjoyable about these types of top-down racers and tries to mimic the drifting-style mechanic of AAA racing titles… In a top down format… Which really, really, doesn’t work. Micro Pico Racers also penalises players much more harshly for not being PERFECT with their drifts than any other drifting focused racing game I’ve ever played! Which is a major issue when drifting is key to winning the bloody game!

Then there’s the issue of the cars themselves. Like other racing titles you get a wide variety of cars, and thus driving styles, to choose from. It’s a long-standing tradition in both sims and arcade racers right? But when has your choice of car EVER determined whether you can win or lose a race? Like, there’s NO WAY to win a track if you didn’t pick the correct car in the first place; and there’s no way of knowing what the best car is without substantial trial and error. Which means you’ll be grinding through levels in Micro Pico Racers as much as you would in an MMORPG… Which is fine when that’s expected… But this is an arcade racer. It’s NOT what you expect from this type of game – even moreso when this, for all intents and purposes, desperately wants to be as fun and beloved as Micro Machines.

*  1/5

A disappointing top-down racer, Micro Pico Racers is definitely at the bottom of the pile when it comes to Micro Machines wannabes AND racing game in general. One to avoid, even at its cheap price.


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