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Table Top Racing Review: A beautifully playable reinvigoration of the classic toy racer genre

on 5 August 2014

If you’ve ever lamented the passing of the top-down, toy racer shenanigans so vividly pioneered by the Micro Machines games in years past (you should), then Table Top Racing by developer Playrise Digital will be right up your street. It's not quite a perfect take on those fondly remembered toy racers of the past, but Table Top Racing remains an eminently playable and slickly presented affair that nonetheless proves to be a solid homage to those enjoyably scrappy racers of yesteryear.

For those who aren’t familiar with the games that Table Top Racing uses as its vaunted inspiration, the premise is simple enough to grasp.

Players are stuffed into the driver’s seat of a wide variety of miniaturised vehicles with the aim of scoring pole position in each race. A racing game which by default is viewed from behind the vehicle, players have the much appreciated option of configuring the camera in Table Top Racing, so that those who yearn for the top-down thrills of the Micro Machines games can emulate that same viewpoint here.

Set against the backdrop of everyday household tables strewn with cereal boxes, plates of food and other such domestic incidentals, the whole experience is given some extra spice by the presence of power-ups such as missiles, mines and special ability granting tyres that can drastically alter the course of any given race.

Rather than shoving a game out the door that merely addresses the fundamentals of the toy racer experience, the Liverpool-based developer has instead elected to build upon those classic foundations with a number of intriguing new elements.

Let's take the game's single-player campaign, or Grand Prix mode, for example. Rather than being a procession of back-to-back races as might normally be the case, the developers have integrated a selection of different twists on the racing formula. Players can expect to encounter events which allow power-ups and don't allow them, such as chase missions where the object is to ram an opponent off the road in a given time and frenetic, split-second skimming time trials to name a few.

Continued overleaf...