Written by Tom Dore.
20 years ago children played with real toys: action figures, foam dart guns, board games and toy cars. Alas, with the dawn of the digital age these became redundant. Action figures turned into platformers, board games real-time strategies, dart guns first person shooters and toy cars became racing games. Let’s face it, things are better this way!
Table Top Racing: World Tour is the second game of the series, you race miniature Hot Wheels-style toy cars across a multitude of courses ranging from sushi restaurant countertops to auto shop workbenches. But don’t think for a second that the fun idea of ploughing a toy car into a plate of rice balls is any reflection on the difficulty of the game. Opponent vehicles are brutal and take any opportunity to send you flying off the edge of the track or disable you with a homing missile to get ahead. The tracks themselves are short but relentlessly cruel with hairpin bends and perilous pits aplenty.
The combat racer is a genre we all know and has been around for a while. As with the first game there is the occasional race without weapons but the majority of the time, power-ups are available and you’ll quickly realise which ones are most useful on particular maps and which aren’t. There’s a definite sense of smugness when you cause the front runner to slide off the edge of the map, frozen solid, with a well-placed attack.
There are 16 vehicles to choose from split into three separate divisions: Cult Classics, Street Racers and Supercars. All cars start with basic stats and can be tuned and upgraded using in-game currency (earned through taking part in races). There are special wheel mods in the store that can give you the edge over other cars as well as paint jobs that can be bought for a purely aesthetic effect.
Each division of cars has four championships to enter which, once completed, can be replayed with any car in your garage. Each championship has multiple events that have to be passed before you can move onto the finale. The game’s modes are fun and give the game some variety. The elimination mode gets me so on edge that I have forgotten to breathe for entire laps. But combat races are Table Top Racing: World Tour’s bread and butter.
Controls seem simple enough but regardless of how much I spent on car upgrades they consistently felt too sluggish and unresponsive. This seems at odds with the arcadey kart racer vibe the game clearly wants to create.
Visually, the game is pleasing with fun little details on the cars that hint towards to big names on the racing scene and a fun soundtrack that reminds me of days (and 20p coins) spent in arcades with my mates.
There’s no split-screen multiplayer mode in the game which is a shame as it would be much more fun when played with family and friends (though it may have caused marital discourse in my house). However, there is an online multiplayer mode, with matchmaking and private match options. When I tried to find a race that I could join online I was unable to match with anybody so I bought a copy for my brother and we set up a private match. The customisation options let us control every aspect of the match including what weapons were dropped and whether wheel weapons are enabled. Honestly my opponent was about as good as I was when I first played so there was no real challenge and, I can’t believe I am going to say this, but The AI on this game is better than real people, I don’t know whether it’s because being any good at this game requires you to perfect all of the bends on every track or actually because Playrise Digital has taken the first steps towards creating Skynet?
The Short Version: Table Top Racing: World Tour is a fun arcade style racing game that offers a long campaign, a real challenge, a fun way to kill an hour or so and a nostalgic reminder of the combat racers of old. Definitely worth a look in but it doesn’t live up to its potential thanks to a lack of multiplayer split-screen option.
- AI opponents are better than you (and know it)
- Attractive visuals and a pleasing soundtrack
- Lengthy campaign with plenty of replayability
- Unresponsive handling
- No split-screen multiplayer!
- You’ll be lucky to find an opponent online
Written by Tom Dore.