If you looked at screen shots or gameplay videos of Futurlabs new game Tiny Trax with its bright glaring colours and tiny Micro cars you would probably write it off as a kids game. But thinking that way will mean missing out on one of the most fun, addictive and down-right challenging games on the PSVR to date.
If you remember when Scalextrix was the one thing every kid wanted at Christmas, then you will remember how much fun racing cars around your self-designed and built tracks could be, learning to judge your trigger pressure to speed up gaining those advantage inches or to slow down on the sharper corners to avoid sending your car through the air was something you wanted to master, amazingly Futurlabs have somehow managed to transfer this skill onto the PSVR along with some other seriously challenging aspects to create VR Scalextrix.
Graphicly Tiny Trax is bright, colourful and visually stunning with a cell shaded look and the various track’s (12 in total) are split into three themes – Ice, Space and beach. These obviously change the environments your tracks run through ranging from dropping into ocean’s to jumping across snowy ramps and the tracks are always twisting and turning, flipping you upside down, side to side and the sense of speed is phenomenal. But all of this can be very unforgiving to a newcomer causing the inevitable pad throw or abrupt switch off, but once you have grown patience and mastered the three main gameplay elements you will find it a truly fun and rewarding game.
Racing around the colourful tracks adjusting your trigger finger is the simplest of the three elements but if you want to have that podium finish and become a competitor on the multiplayer you will need to spend time perfecting the finely turned steering to drift around the corners and the essential extra boost. Once you have achieved marrying all three together the game then becomes a very challenging experience to achieve glory.
To gain those extra few seconds to be crowned the winner you must turn the left thumb stick perfectly in-sync with the corner you are drifting around, there is help as the rumble of the Dualshock4 hints at the ideal spot that you need to hold.
Along with this you have a boost option which is gained by perfecting the drifting but the most challenging of the three to master is the lane switching, this gives you literally seconds at certain points to switch tracks, if successful you gain the inside lane shaving milliseconds off every corner but get any of these elements wrong and you find your car stalling and leaving you with the near impossible task of catching up.
The single player has four tournaments’ giving you a variety of micro cars and the twelve tracks to master and I recommend you do these first before tackling online as the few game’s I did attempt to play with others demonstrated to me that there are some seriously skilled players already and constantly losing can become very frustrating, (well for me anyway). But apart from that very minor point what really gives Tiny Trax that little extra above similar games like Micro Machine’s is the way the VR has been implemented.
Tracks literally cover every corner of your viewing angle and on occasion race towards and around your head, this gives you a real sense of depth and speed to the proceedings and really puts you head first (literally) within the racing.
Tiny Trax does look like a kids racing game but it really contains some difficult and challenging racing dynamics and I feel this very steep learning curve could put some gamers off especially after the many loses they will incur trying to master that perfect racing line. But those who persist will inevitably gain that feeling of fulfilment and accomplishment conquering the game’s mechanics and stealing first place on the last corner.
Sadly, with only the 12 tracks available and every race limited to 5 laps once you’ve learned the basic speed controls and used trial and error through the rest they are all seen very quickly so I do hope Futurlabs are planning DLC to keep the game fresh and updated.
Also, Tiny Trax doesn’t have any form of social screen interaction which is a shame as relieving those kid moments beating friends on a virtual Scalextrix track could have upped the score, but maybe Futurlabs felt playing on a standard TV just didn’t give the overall experience they were trying to achieve.
Tiny Trax has Sublime track design, visually Stunning VR, a sense of speed and depth not yet seen, along with challenging race dynamics and gallons of fun it puts Tiny Trax in my top 5 PSVR titles and it should be in yours too.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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