Perhaps it’s the 1980’s kid in me but I love a bit of tabletop racing. From the early days of Micro Machines, right up to the recent Toybox Turbos effort from Codemasters, if there is ever five minutes free in my life, then I’ll easily be tempted in by a cool, fun top down racer. Throw in some weapons and I’ll be even happier.
Super Toy Cars now scratches that itch on Xbox One.
Whilst not confined just to the birds-eye top-down view that we all know and love, Super Toy Cars by Eclipse Games offers a couple of other views which are more in tune with the racers of today. Personally, as much as I love the aerial shots, I found an infinitely better racer was present when played from a third person view point, but that’s not to say it should be the only way to play the game. The choice is completely yours and what will work for one person may not be another’s cup of tea, however you can be sure that the few camera options that Eclipse have included should just about cover everyone’s needs. Except maybe those who need a full on driving sim, cockpit cam with manual shifters et al.
But then Super Toy Cars isn’t meant to be taken too seriously!
With a mobile feel from the very start, you’ll need to race, drift and turbocharge your way across numerous tracks and over multiple race modes in order to garner enough points enabling you to unlock further races. With standard podium challenges, eliminators, time trials and mine filled anger-raising circuits all available, you can be sure that the racing you find in Super Toy Cars will be reminiscent of every single racer you’ve ever played on your mobile device.
16 various cars, all with their own unique art style, handling characteristics and speed levels ensure that you’ll be happy to play the same race multiple times until you achieve victory. Whilst your first standard vehicle will no doubt see you sitting pretty at the top of multiple championships for the first few races, it won’t be long before you’re spending the cash earnt on upgrades for new, faster, slippier, better handling machines. With achievements a plenty, mostly unlocked for using a certain car for a set amount of time, certain gamers will no doubt have to run through the tracks a number of times in order to cash in enough moolah required to buy all the cars. But it never feels repetitive and rarely gets boring as you do so.
With 48 events in all, it may only take a couple of hours to unlock all the races, but if you feel the need to hit the number one position in all of them, unlock all the vehicles and their upgrades along with the numerous achievements that will come your way as you do so, then you’ll find yourself spending probably double that time again in your battle to become the overall Super Toy Cars champion. I would however have liked to see more races included as the game was completed, with full gamerscore unlocked reasonably quickly.
Races are, for the most part, pretty tight affairs with a grid full of cars who are happy to take you off on the first corner if need be. With certain races being filled with powerful weapon pickups, even when all hope seems lost, a quick collection and fire of the rocket, or drop of a well placed oil spill should ensure you are swiftly back into the race. A quick drift around the nearest corner, or jump from the biggest ramp will see you build your turbo meter and once full, gives you a quick sharp boost of extra speed in order to help distance yourself from your opponents. It’s all a bit ‘Mario Kart’ without ever reaching the heights of Nintendos baby and whilst the standard races, time trials and elimination events are decent fun, trying to negotiate your way around a mine ridden track does more harm than good and just becomes frustrating.
However, for all of Super Toy Cars positive points, there is one big shadow spending just a bit too much time casting itself over the whole track – the omission of online racing. In this day and age, when an online subscription is as much a necessity as the console and games themselves, no matter how small the development budget and no matter how tiny the studio behind it are, a racing title, especially one that doesn’t take itself too seriously, just begs out to hold a light to the online scene. It’s even more disappointing when we see the PC version going live with eight player online racing as standard.
Playing solo is nice and the local multiplayer racing that is in place works well with duplicated screens all flowing fast and smoothly, but at times it feels far too much like a mobile title that has just been lifted straight from the small screen and thrown directly onto one of the most powerful consoles in the world.
This is no more apparent than with the way the races are drip fed to you. With only six races initially available, and up to ten points available to win for each one, it’s only when you accumulate enough score to unlock further tracks do you really begin to get going properly with Super Toy Cars. Admittedly, it won’t take you long to unlock everything, but initially those who struggle to reach the pinnacle of toy box motor racing may find it a little limited, but as soon as some of the faster cars are unlocked and purchased, things become relatively simple.
With very little to offend and Super Toy Cars doing more than a good enough job at bringing some fun-filled arcade racing to your Xbox One, you could find yourself doing a lot worse than checking it out. In fact, I’ve had a thoroughly enjoyable time with a lovely little racer that just keeps throwing Gamerscore and achievements at you throughout your time with it.
Is Super Toy Cars perfect? No, far from it. But it’s the best fun filled combat racer that you can play on Xbox One today so grab some sofa friends and settle some scores.