Much like watching films, when you’ve played so many of the same genre, it’s inevitable that you will make comparisons to similar titles – whether or not intentional. I was perhaps a little more mindful of Super Toy Cars 2 as a variant of Micro Machines, and while I didn’t have expectations of it being good or bad, there was the expectation that it would have the same feeling as the 16-bit classic.
We’re no longer in the 16-bit era, and rather than a top-down racer, we have a 3D racer instead featuring many staple vehicles you’d expect, with enough upgrades to improve your game incrementally. There’s a good deal of options for single-players, but the multiplayer side of things is a little weak.
After a tutorial – several pages that confirm how to brake and accelerate, then a few others pop-ups on how to play the game, are perhaps unnecessary, you’re given some cash to pick out some wheels. Understandably, the majority are locked at first, so you’re limited to a few classes, so I went for the classic car that resembled the Shelby Cobra. The 3D modelling of the vehicle and customisation choices had me salivating a bit, and I was looking forward to a playful, but serious racer. Alas, the handling of the car was no way on par with what I was hoping. My choice of car, while looking the part, handled like a washing machine on a skateboard, and the dedicated drift option was mostly a hand-brake turn that ruined the flow of racing.
As a battle-like racer, you can pick up power-ups along the way to wipe out the competition. Similar to classic beat ’em ups, respawning cars would have a brief flicker of invulnerability, so often the cars I caught up with had already been clipped by another racer, but had that element of invincibility, ensuring that I wasted my power-ups. As a player, it’s great to have that breathing space is it’s infuriating on other racers such as Mario Kart 8 where you would get hit by a red shell, and just as you were about to catch up with the leader, endure another attack. However, wanting the best of both worlds, I found a lot of the power-ups were redundant as I was either out of range of other players or they were temporally invulnerable.
Power-ups have their uses, but I much preferred the clean race option where you race rather than tinker with your opponent. The enjoyment factor mostly depended on the choice of the car. There was a clear difference in some being easier to handle than others. This is expected in a racing game, of course, but the comparisons were often very different from each other. As a lot of the tournaments are vehicle specific, if you’re going for 100% experience, you have to drive everything.
Drawing in the toy car reference, the tracks are set around many day-to-day environments, and while these aren’t the focal point, the backgrounds are functional and create a real feeling of racing in these miniature arenas. Objects that are placed in your path look the part, but as mentioned in the opener, it’s hard not to compare with Micro Machines and with the latter, hazards felt a bit more natural than in Super Toy Cars 2 which felt a bit more rigid in its approach. The obstacles felt like they were there to remind you where you were, but a little forced. But there’s something about the visuals that feel a little dated – as if it hasn’t lived up to its potential. The car models and backgrounds, while well designed, are a bit rough around the edges and feel lacklustre for the PS4. Again, how the cars connect with the tracks doesn’t feel right, and it doesn’t always feel like your car should be there – almost like an afterthought.
Still, you can turnaround a mediocre game with a decent multiplayer, but it’s a little limited here with the available modes, and I must admit, I was finding it challenging to keep the other party’s interest in playing. There aren’t any standout cars or tracks that feel like the ace up your sleeve, and instead, you play through what’s on offer, but nothing truly grabs your attention. As always, multiplayer is as good as the company you keep, but that didn’t seem to save Super Toy Cars 2 from my deteriorating interest. Here, all that was on offer were the split-screen single races, compared to the deathmatch-like challenges, last man standing and time trials.
Something that nobody wants in a racing game is invisible walls, and I haven’t encountered so many since Super Mario 64 – but that was expected – on a race track, I don’t want to suddenly get stuck behind an invisible wall that I have to respawn. As I was predominantly playing this in single player mode, the incentive wasn’t just winning, but to unlock new vehicles and upgrade my existing ones. But halfway through a run, having to respawn would cost my position, seemingly through no fault of my own. The only time I experience this in a racing game is if I crash into a ditch or have a head-on collision with a tree in a rally game, not on a simple toy-like circuit peppered with household objects.
Super Toy Cars 2 is serviceable enough in places, but there isn’t anything that makes this any different to some other better titles out there. It isn’t entirely flawed, but the combination of the odd invisible wall, mediocre power-ups and feel of the cars on the track wasn’t enough for me to want to pursue this much further, let alone as a go-to racer for local play against a friend.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary 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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Super Toy Cars 2 Review
Gameplay - 6/10
Graphics - 6/10
Sound - 6/10
Replay Value - 5/10
It’s hard not to think of Micro Machines, but if you go in expecting something similar, you’ll be disappointed as it lacks the fun and quirkiness of the classic title. There’s plenty of cars with varying characteristics, but overall it just felt a little average.
- Nice selection of cars.
- Customisation options/upgrades.
- Handling for the right cars is good.
- Lacks overall polish in the presentation.
- Occasional invisible walls that warrant a respawn.
- Cars don’t feel like they’re on track.