Ever since the disappointment of 2017’s Micro Machines World Series reboot, there has been a void in the toy car racing genre that is waiting to be filled. Many indie games have tried to plug the gap, but can the second iteration of Super Toy Cars manage where others have failed?
A sequel to the 2015 game, Super Toy Cars 2 attempts to double down on that feeling you had as a kid creating elaborate tracks on virtually any surface you could think of whilst racing and playing with your toy cars. In-game obstacles can be anything: a sausage, a salt shaker, a pine cone, cassette tapes and even an octopus teddy. The level design is highly imaginative across a variety of backdrops including a summer BBQ, an American themed diner, kid’s playroom, a music studio and more. There are 16 tracks in total and range from more traditionally designed circuits to those featuring branching paths and corkscrews.
Of course, a racing game can only be as good as the racing itself, and Super Toy Cars 2 has some very good racing. The cars have individual stats and feel different from each other; some can glide freely around the tracks, whilst others will require all your effort not to understeer and fall off the sides of the raceway. Each of the cars are split into one of five different classes and it’s these classes that form the basis of the single player career mode. There is also a drift system in place that feels incredibly satisfying; it takes a few races to get the hang of, but once you have it you’ll be taking corners at full speed and effortlessly drifting round them, with a nice little speed boost afterwards to boot. It is just as well that this feels so intuitive as it quickly becomes a requirement if you constantly want first place.
Career mode is where you will spend most of your time in Super Toy Cars 2. There are 12 cups in total with many restricted to only one or two car classes. Each cup contains four events – not just standard races – with prize money and points awarded for each one. The points you accumulate will unlock additional cups, vehicles and paintjobs as you progress through the career mode, and prize money can be used in the garage to purchase upgrades for existing cars, or new cars altogether.
Whilst racing will form the backbone of many cups, there are actually seven different events in total, which take into account the destructibility of these toy cars. By using the power-ups in game – or simply ploughing straight into your opponents – you can cause damage to their cars and, ultimately, destroy them. If you manage to do this you are rewarded with a short slow-motion moment as their car flips over – the same happens if your car gets totalled too and there is the same weird, sadistic enjoyment in seeing it happen to your car as well as your opponents.
Including the traditional race event type there is also a Clean Race which simply removes the power-ups, as well as a Death Race in which once you are totalled your race is over (when normally you would just respawn). Elimination mode and Time Trial mode are both present also. Then there is Destruction in which you are on the track with limited time and must go around destroying the cars that spawn. Each car destroyed grants you a point and additional time; the winner of that event is the driver who destroys the most cars. This event took me straight back to Burnout 3: Takedown and those epic Road Rage events.
The final mode is a Demolition Derby, another destruction-themed event which takes place in closed circuits eg. a casino craps table is a genius design decision. All eight drivers must drive round and destroy other opponents. There is no finish line – the victor is simply the one to destroy most cars.
Best of all, these events can all be played in local multiplayer against another player, with bots filling the remaining six places. There is also online multiplayer, but this is unfortunately restricted to just standard Race and Clean Race only.
Super Toy Cars 2 also features a licenced soundtrack featuring several genres of music, including indie, pop, ska punk and a bit of dance music too. Knowing that not everyone will be a fan of every song featured, you have the option to turn off individual songs, of even entire genres. You can also favourite specific songs to make them appear more frequently. All this isn’t necessary but it is a lovely touch by the developers.
In total, Super Toy Cars comes with 16 achievements to unlock, and most shouldn’t take long to achieve if you play through the career mode. Some however can be glitchy; I unlocked achievements for winning Destruction Derby events and a first victory without winning either in question and the achievement for unlocking all cups only unlocked when I booted up the game the day after unlocking all the cups. They still unlocked, but perhaps not when they should have. Other than ones related to career mode there is also an achievement for completing a multiplayer race either locally or online, and a tricky sounding achievement – at least to plan and set up – for finishing a race whilst being destroyed.
There is a lot of imagination and heart gone into the making of Super Toy Cars 2 on Xbox One that oozes out of almost every corner. Career mode is an absolute blast and I will never tire of smashing up opponents – or myself when making a bad judgement on one of the obstacles. The game is slightly let down by only allowing two players locally – four would have made this a gaming night essential – and the lack of modes online, but there is still masses of fun to be had here on your own.