I started Super Toy Cars hoping it would be an experience similar to MicroMachines and envisioned exciting tracks to race round with a colourful childlike feel to them, everyday objects towering above me as I raced around, trying my hardest not to crash into walls, or my unfortunate opponents. The game itself is developed by Eclipse Games, the same developers that brought us Tachyon Project, a fun twin stick shooter that I enjoyed quite a lot, so my expectations were definitely high.
The developers wanted their game to be a mix of MicroMachines, Super off Road, Death Rally and Mario Kart and with such a high standard already set in the genre, making a game that stands out definitely requires a lot of attention to detail. With this in mind when I entered my first race, I was not disappointed. Childrens toys surrounded me in a room even the most spoilt child would be proud of. Colourful bricks stacked up, trains and teddy bears around every turn. A bright colourful display and maybe a slight distraction as I was hurtling around.
This is when I encountered my first issue. The AI’s are, well how can I put this, either extremely drunk or straight out lunatics. I watched in amazement as the car in front of me, without any opponents near him, missed the ramp completely and flew off the side of the track. Then observed, mouth still open, as another group of cars, smashed past me, pushing me into the wall and driving so close to each other, sparks were flying off them. Well, this is going to be interesting..
As if their driving skills weren’t crazy enough, the game proceeds to arm them with weapons, a giant eight ball that has a tendency to hit you in the back when you’re near the finish line, a spring trap that sends you flying into the air and homing rockets are among the arsenal of destruction you’ll get to torment your fellow racers with. I started off with quite a slow car, without any upgrades but the first career race was somewhat gentle on me, if you subtract the crazy drivers smashing into me and the eight ball shaped dent in the back of my toy car.
Career mode consists of 8 episodes with a total of 48 events to complete and it’s not all racing either. There are different types of events that span your career as a Super Toy Car racer. A simple time trial where you attempt to complete a lap in a specific time, Evade, where you’ll have to dodge mines that spin your car around and stay in first position as the clock counts down eliminating everyone until there is only one car left and an easier elimination where you’ll just have to stay in the lead while everyone else gets eliminated.
Unfortunately I found myself becoming a bit bored just after I got halfway through it, because it got a little too repetitive. Even with the different events, the fact that, even though the game has 12 different tracks, they are based on only 4 locations. Combat racing games need to have variety in tracks to keep the game interesting as the novelty of driving around such cool looking tracks soon wears off and I didn’t really feel like I was progressing in the career.
Your effectiveness in the events and races all rely on your ability to drift, although it’s simple enough to master and sometimes the faster cars will automatically do it for you. Driving in the fully upgraded Hot Rod was a pretty insane experience, I was sliding around the corners at high speeds totally out of control of my vehicle. Drifting not only allows for better control and speed when turning corners, it also fills your boost bar at the top of the screen and once full, activating it can provide a small boost in speed, sometimes crucial for overtaking opponents.
There are also 16 different cars to play with in game with upgrades available for each car which can be bought with the coins earned from completing races. The game definitely got a lot more fun when I had upgraded cars, allowing me to complete the different events with greater ease. Although a lot of the times, winning is about luck and whether or not you’re unlucky enough to get hit with a weapon right before the finish line (happened a few times to me).
Once you’re done with career mode, or even before you start it, you can just race around any track and event from the quick race menu. This mode also allows for up to four players to race and really helps to extend the time you’ll spend with this title. What was really disappointing was the fact that there was no online play, I’d imagine playing against others would be just as hectic as the crazy AI’s but unfortunately that’s where that thought stays, in my imagination as there is no online mode, for a game like this, that is definitely a big letdown.
Overall, Super Toy Cars is a fun arcade combat racing game that perhaps needed a little more variety, in both the location of the tracks and the soundtrack which I eventually turned down after hearing the same songs repeatedly. The tracks that were available were very visually appealing and well thoughtout, setting the tone for the game perfectly.No online play meant I would probably be done with the game in five hours and never return to it again. Those crazy Ai’s though..