A Clustertruck Of Madness
In the fast and furious world of racing, it’s easy to forget sometimes our own first experiences with it. For most of us, myself included, that was usually our toy cars. Whether remote control or the “pull back and zip forward” type, we were almost all there at one point or another.
Therefore Micro Machines World Series is a trip down nostalgia lane in at least one manner or another. For those players picking up Codemaster’s latest racing title, you’ve either likely played the original way back in the day, or simply wanted to enjoy something off the beaten path. Having not played the original myself, I was hoping for the latter and wasn’t entirely disappointed. Still, for all the bells and whistles of games these days, something about Micro Machines World Series fell short for me.
Pay to Play (the CPU)
First of all, even though there is a form of couch co-op, I still had to subscribe to PSN in order to get past the main menu. Naturally, this soured my initial expectations as I had hoped to avoid having to shell out the additional $10 (I generally do not subscribe to PSN because most of my online gaming is done via PC). Once I begrudgingly pulled out the wallet, I was finally able to begin my racing experience, albeit a bit grumpier than I had been initially.
Only then was I to find out that most of the time I would be going up against AI anyway. Don’t get me wrong; there were a few humans in the fray. However, comparably speaking, that didn’t really add up to much. AI and real people just never play quite the same way, and it almost always shows.
In the case of Micro Machines World Series, the AI know the game too well, and handle the vehicles far better than I could ever hope to be capable of doing in every single game mode. Naturally, this is where my game fell more often than not. Round after round of Quick Play was met with one or two real accounts and me going up against a whole lot of computer. Not the best start, I’m sorry to say.
And I still can’t shake the bitterness of handing over $10 for it, either.
Drive, Baby Drive
Quick Play is where the bulk of Micro Machines World Series lies. It is here you will find three different gameplay options: race, battle, and elimination. Race is the bread and butter of the title because, obviously, it’s a racing game. However, this proved to be the most boring aspect of the game. Elimination doesn’t fair much better in my opinion, as it’s essentially a race to the finish to see who lasts the longest on any given track. Any crashing, falling off the track, or succumbing to a weapon is cause for instantaneous loss. Battle was probably the most entertaining of the lot as it offered variations between capture the flag, carry the bomb, and free for all elimination battles.
No matter what you play, your profile will level with every session. Each level awards players a loot box with four varied prizes upon opening. With cosmetic items such as skins, to sprays, voice lines, and profile tags, you can make your game look just how you please.
Upon reaching level ten players can enter ranked mode, while there are also monthly onilne challenges that take on the same premise as that of battle mode. Finally, there’s local gaming that will allow for yourself and up to five players. Games can be couch co-op or an online party.
I Hope You’ve Got Insurance
For what it’s worth, CodeMasters did a really great job of designing clever and beautiful looking levels to race in. Players will experience everything from the world’s messiest breakfast table, a pool table, back yard complete with iced over pond and garden, and something I can only presume is the lab of a mad scientist? These are only a few examples, but each environment is rich with variety and care in detail. These environments are also chock full of things that are going to catch you up and slow you down in every way possible. This is, of course, when you aren’t being deterred by the weapons your fellow racers are wielding so as to blow you off the map and ensure their own victories.
Matters aren’t helped by the fact that these mini cars don’t steer the way a normal car would in a game. Instead of simply turning left or right, when pushing the analog stick your car rotates on, for lack of better description, a wide axis, which means all those death defying curves and hairpin turns are virtually unattainable unless you are able to see them coming beforehand. This sounds simple enough, but when you also need to dodge moveable sugar cubes, army men, and the occasional stove burner, things get hectic quickly. Suffice it to say that Micro Machines World Series knows how to keep players on their toes, at least for a short while.
While Micro Machines World Series was fun for a time, you’ll likely not get more than a few hours of entertainment out of it during a single sitting. Furthermore, with an asking price of near $30, the game doesn’t really deliver the goods for the dollars. The levels are fun, the cosmetics are neat, and the variety of cars and weapons adds some flavor to the game. Overall, it feels like you’re counting licks to the center of an empty tootsie pop. Nothing really pays off, and in the end you’d just rather play another game.
If you’re a major fan of the initial title, or simply like toy themed games, you may not be totally disappointed with Micro Machines. However, it may be best to wait for a sale before diving in on the buy.
Final Verdict: 3/5
Available on: Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (reviewed), PC; Publisher: CodeMasters ; Developer: CodeMasters, Just Add Water; Players: 1-6 ; Released: June 30th 2017 ; ESRB: E for Everyone ; MSRP: $29.99
Full disclosure: This review is based on a PlayStation 4 review copy of Micro Machines World Series given to HeyPoorPlayer by the publisher.