This review was originally written for TouchGen.net, which is no longer online.
No need to reinvent the wheel
When I was a wee lad, I didn’t play a lot of racing games. This is, of course, with the exception of classics such as the Lotus series, Out Run, the Test Drive series, Ironman Super Offroad and Micro Machines. Casual racers like me like casual games and Table Top Racing therefore invites me to take a spin in a pint-sized piece of tin.
This breezy racer borrows heavily from Micro Machines, which it does with grace. The eight tracks are colourful and littered with kitchen supplies, toys and deliciously looking food. There’s a Teppanyaki griddle, a sunlit BBQ picnic table and a mechanical workshop to drive through, to name a few. Table Top Racing offers tons of racing fun, divided over championships, special events and quick races. On top of that, you can race against friends (or enemies) online or over a local network.
Races are diverse and challenging, as some tracks include power-ups (9 in total), including rockets, speed-ups and bombs. Other challenges have you chase another car, with the sole purpose of smashing into it before time runs out. There is a lot of variety in tracks and game modes, especially within the 4 championships. A balanced level of difficulty pushes the player towards creative driving, making good use of both the surroundings as well as the power-ups. The other game modes (special events & quick race) can be used to level up and earn coins for car upgrades. There’s something for everyone in these events, that range from Rookie to Expert in difficulty.
Besides upgrading speed, grip, acceleration and the like, you’ll use your coins to pimp cars with special wheels or a new paint job. Completing tournaments unlocks more cars, although 4 out of the 10 available rides can be bought instantaneously if you can cough up the dough.
Table Top Racing looks absolutely gorgeous. The tracks are bright and detailed, albeit seasoned with a filter that may scare adversaries of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit-franchise in 48 fps. Sometimes the shiny filter sets a soap opera effect in motion, but that may just have been me, dramatically demanding revenge after a race. Luckily, the Vendetta RS, a little red wonder on wheels, got me through the last championship with verve. In addition, the more advanced challenges brought back that special feeling of driving in tiny toy machines.
Despite a slow start (in a rather bulky ice cream van), Table Top Racing gradually picks up the pace and offers a huge amount of content. The extensive level system and well-balanced game modes bring about an enjoyable driving experience across beautifully crafted table tops. Once you’ve concluded the main event, there’s ample fun to be had in multiplayer battles, where I suggest you invite the meat lovers in your contact list. Table Top Racer presents some of the juiciest steaks I have ever seen in video games, a finger lickin’ good distraction. Bad table manners are advised.
4 out of 5 stars