As a kid, almost everybody I knew had a collection of Micro Machines. When I would go visit friends, we would put them on the floor, and pretend to race each other for hours on end. Even though that was fun to do, a thought kept lingering in the back of my head, and that was “this could be a fun idea for a video game”. Lone and behold, many years later, Eclipse Games somehow answered my question, and released Super Toy Cars to try to recreate the magic from my childhood. Did they finish in first place, or obtain a flat tire before the race even started? Let’s find out.
The setup here is pretty simple. Basically take the Mario Kart franchise, replace well known characters with toy cars, change the environments to look like the floor in a Kids room, and you have this game. Eight cars gather together on a track, and they will complete a number of laps while fighting for a spot at the top before crossing the finish line. It’s a fun concept on paper, but the gas tends to run out of this too quickly to be anything memorable.
As usual, presentation is up first. The environments look nice enough, and definitely give off that playroom vibe, but lack variety when it comes to how you play through each one. Sometimes there are different paths to explore, but most of the time you will move along a set path from start to finish, which really takes the strategy out of the experience, and leaves winning a race more up to chance than actual skill. Music can get repetitive as well, with the same tracks repeating themselves to the point where you jsut want to shut them off all together. Animations are okay are best, but are nothing special.
Now you would think that even if a game is lacking variety and style, that solid gameplay mechanics could save it from being terrible, and you would be right for the most part. Driving is responsive, and the simple control layout for breaking and accelerating are not too difficult to get the hang of. Where things get a little bit sketchy however is in the AI of the racers, it’s extremely unbalanced. A person could be winning the race by a landslide, and as soon as another racer hits them with a powerup, all of the sudden, everybody hits the gas, and their left in last place before they even know what hit them.
The amount of replay value on offer here is pretty nice as well. You can play with up to three other friends on any of the unlocked courses, people can design their own courses with a fun to use level editor, and players can also purchase cars, paint jobs, and upgrades for specific vehicles too. As nice as all of this stuff is, the lack of any online support for them really limits their long term appeal. Hopefully a patch will come out soon to alleviate these issues, maybe with inclusion of an online leaderboard or something, but as things stand right now, it’s kind of disappointing.
Even though the level editor is nice, some of the options to choose from are hard to read, and your overall view of the track being created is limited. Other than that though, there are no other features to speak of, and in the end, this ends up feeling like a missed opportunity.
Super Toy Cars is an interesting idea that succeeds in some areas, but fails in others. If you don’t mind a few issues, give this one a shot, otherwise, I would stick with something else.
Review Code Provided By The Publisher