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Table Top Racing: World Tour PC Review

I wanted to love Table Top Racing: World Tour, I really did, because this arcade racer on paper makes a great plea to be played. For starters, its title is self-explanatory, this is a racing game that features little cars racing around table tops from various environments, but it throws in the twist of using power-ups. Imagine the gameplay of Mario Kart crossed with the environmental design of Micro Machines and there you have Table Top Racing: World Tour. Add in a design team that consists of one of the creator’s of the PlayStation classic, Wipeout, and other members who have helped create some great racing titles, such as Project Gotham Racing and Blur, and you have the recipe for an amazingly fun game, yet somehow it seems to have suffered a puncture on the way to the finish line.

This new title is actually a sequel to Playrise Digital’s first game, Table Top Racing, which was originally launched for iOS over three years ago. World Tour builds on its predecessor, bringing a complete packaging built in Unity 5, while removing all signs of microtransactions that seem to be infused with most mobile games today. What this means is that the game comes bundled with twenty tracks across five environments, 12 cars that are clearly inspired by – the game jokingly names them as – famous vehicles, such as the Mini Cooper and Nissan Skyline R34, but while the content is good enough for the price (£14.99), it’s serious missing a feature that a game like this is completely made for – split-screen multiplayer.

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Games like World Tour always seem to shine better in multiplayer. Everyone who sampled evenings of split-screen Mario Kart or same screen Micro Machines back in the day know the sheer joy and atmosphere that builds between players. This will not be felt with World Tour, because the PC version has no split-screen multiplayer, as playing with other people is limited to online only. This was due to the PS4 version not being able to hit 60 frames per second with four players, so split-screen was scrap. A total shame (Playrise Digital has informed us that split-screen is planned in the future).

As already mentioned, the content here is enough for the asking price, and it certainly passes a few hours throughout its single player campaign. The campaign pits yourself against AI across multiple events and mini tournaments, mixing up the gameplay with modes that don’t stick to car-combat racing, including standard racing, time attacks (both lap and total time), elimination, drift, and a mode where you have to tag a car by chasing it down before the timer passes the goal mark. This variety helps keep the game entertaining, but it still doesn’t stop the eventual repetition creeping in, due to the limited environments. 20 tracks sounds great, but some sectors are made up of chunks from other tracks in the same environment, and with a race often not lasting longer than two minutes, the tracks are quickly exhausted, giving a sense of deja-vu more often than it should.

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Playing through the single player will reward with cash and experience to work towards unlocking more tournaments, upgrades for the cars or purchasing brand new vehicles, skins and wheel modifications, things like shields and jumps, allowing one to protect themselves against opposition racers.

The type of weapons available certainly don’t stretch the creativity boundary. These are typical items consisting of homing rockets, turbo boosts, bombs, EMP, and my personal favourite, the ice cube shot, which when hits turns them into a block of ice, causing them to uncontrollably slide for a short amount of time, a great punish when hitting someone about to turn a corner – a lot of tracks in World Tour don’t stop the cars from falling off the edge. It’s one of the few weapons that feel they have an impact, the rest don’t portray their sense of destruction. For example, a rocket will hit a car, but all it does is slow them down with a puff of black smoke. Where’s the crazy explosion? Where’s the impact of this weapon causing someone pain and messing up their race?

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Speed is an issue in the beginning of the campaign. The starting cars are awfully slow, and while moving up from third tier to the first brings faster cars, the game never feels fast enough. Slowness mixed with lacklustre weapons leaves a cocktail that never tingles your taste buds, never excites or brings that sense of urgency to win that a game like Mario Kart brings. The lack of challenge in the beginning hampers the campaign – not coming in first is usually a fault of the player (crashing, falling off the track, etc.) – to the point I can’t help but recommend not to upgrade your car to keep some sort of challenge intact with the AI.

World Tour may be inspired by Micro Machines, but apart from coming up with some cool environments (Yo Sushi restaurant is a really good choice), that frenetic action that Micro Machines has when trying to out race your opponent is simply not present here. It’s dull, and I hate to say it, since the caricature of each modelled car adds personality, and looks rather great, but it can’t save the gameplay from being just okay.

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Table Top Racing: World Tour’s transition to PC was a disappointment for me, especially since the things that inspire this game should have made it such a blast to play. Instead, Table Top Racing: World Tour can’t shed its mobile origins, suffering from a small selection of track designs and lacking any real challenge. With online practically lifeless, the lack of local multiplayer is highlighted even more, and is such a huge sin for the game to have not included it. There is fun to be had with Table Top Racing: World Tour in short bursts, but its fun is only skin deep, lacking depth and excitement that are staples of the genre, leaving it stuck in the dust of other better party combat racers.

6 out of 10