I've been a sucker for toy car racing games ever since Micro Machines on the NES. Now that Super Toy Cars recently arrived on PlayStation 4 and is now available for all three major consoles, I figured it's time to see if it stacks up to the classics.
As with many other games in the genre, Super Toy Cars is easy to pick up and play. All you do is control a toy vehicle by steering, boosting, drifting, and using collected power-ups. Some additional controls help with getting your bearings since they allow you to tilt the camera and respawn if you ever drive off course. The old-school gamers reading this will delight in the fact that you can play with an overhead camera. That being said, it makes spotting small objects and tunnel entrances a lot more difficult. The array of power-ups can be fun to experiment with although most of them are cookie-cutter and unsatisfying to use. Probably the coolest power-up is an 8-ball that you can roll down the track in front of you to crush your competition. Overall, it's easy to pick up and play but the core gameplay may be too basic for most racing game fans. Because of this, you'll likely become uninterested after playing for only a short while.
If you're playing by yourself then Career mode is packed with many challenges that are enjoyable to master. There are a total of eight episodes with six challenges in each. Every challenge has a different combination of tracks and race types so working your way through all of them will require a decent amount of time and skill. The different race types consist of basic races, elimination matches where the racer in last place is removed at regular intervals, time trials for best lap times, time attacks where you have to reach checkpoints before the time runs out, and a type called "Evade" that's the same as elimination except with landmines everywhere. As you progress, you earn money and points. Money is used to purchase cars and upgrade them while points unlock further episodes. With 16 cars to unlock and upgrade, a reasonable amount of effort is needed in order to perfect everything.
For those looking for a more customizable race, Quick Race mode allows you to select any race type and track to play freely either by yourself or multiplayer for up to four local competitors. Aside from choosing between three difficulty settings and picking the coolest looking car, you can select from a collection of 12 predefined tracks or choose a custom one. That's right; Super Toy Cars has a track editor! I played this on Wii U so I created my tracks using the stylus on the GamePad. I actually found it to be quite comprehensive and intuitive. To create a track, you select a theme (kid's room, street, kitchen, or garage), define its layout, then place obstacles and objects however you wish. Besides these modes, you can also collect in-game achievements, view detailed statistics, and unlock colours and textures for your vehicles. In the end, this may be a little game but it's definitely not short on content.
Although Super Toy Cars has a lot of modes to explore, it still suffers in the gameplay department. As I've already mentioned, it can be rather basic and unexciting yet there's also a lack of polish that makes racing feel like a chore at times. Frequently getting snagged on edges of the track only to recover at the back of the pack is annoying on its own but when you see your vehicle respawn for no apparent reason, you'll find it hard not to shake your head. Finally, the tracks are way too flat. I know that these are toy cars that are driving on counter-tops and whatnot but couldn't they have at least incorporated some sort of depth? The only time you change altitude is when you drive up ramps and that's just not enough. Other toy car racers have you drive between desks and over kitchen appliances which makes you feel like you're actually in a miniature vehicle so why doesn't Super Toy Cars try to emulate this feeling? It doesn't make any sense since it only contributes to a much duller experience as a result.
Super Toy Cars is a charming little toy racer with plenty of content. However, its gameplay regularly feels tedious with uninspired tracks and an overall unrefined quality. Therefore, I can't recommend it to anyone except diehard fans of the genre.
- + Simple controls and easy to learn gameplay
- + Career mode provides tons of unlockables to uncover and challenges to master
- + Plenty of modes to play around in
- - Gameplay can be too basic and uninteresting
- - General lack of polish makes it feel like an incomplete experience
- - The tracks are incredibly flat