When you picture a VR racing game, playing with toy cars probably isn't the first image that comes to mind. However, FuturLab's bold take on the genre is definitely a noteworthy experience so on your mark, get set, let's go!
Tiny Trax has you race a slot car around complex tracks. Unlike traditional slot cars, you have to steer in order to prevent slowing down or stopping and even gain boost which you almost constantly need to use. You accomplish this via a handy gauge that displays whenever you need to turn around a corner. The more you steer, the more the gauge increases. When it reaches the ideal area, you know you're doing a good job and are awarded boost according to how long you keep it in that range. However, if you over-steer or don't steer enough then you'll slow down and may even stop. Although all of this seems simple and easy to understand, actually putting the basics into practice will make you realise just how challenging of a game Tiny Trax is to master. Doing so is indeed rewarding but it can also be a frustrating experience for those just looking for some simple VR racing fun.
The best part of Tiny Trax by far is its tracks. Each one is completely unique and they all look absolutely gorgeous. As you race, you'll have to move your head around in order to keep watch of where your vehicle is because the tracks often go beyond your peripheral field of vision. The visuals are so well done that it's hard not to appreciate the finely detailed environments as you race which says a lot because the gameplay is fast-paced and requires complete concentration. The audio sounds great, too, with delightful arcade-style music and the sounds of cars boosting and engines revving. The cheerful "Yay!" upon completing a race is a nice touch as well.
Although the visuals are stunning and Tiny Trax is generally a joy to play, there sure isn't a lot of content to play through. The single player mode merely consists of three championship cups with four races in each then a final cup that contains all twelve races in one. You can also select any of the twelve individual tracks if you'd like to just play through one race. There is an online mode but unfortunately, I couldn't find one game after trying many times. If you have a friend who also owns this then I guess you could get some use out of the online multiplayer mode. Considering there are only the twelve tracks with no variations, extra modes, or list of challenges; you'll be done with Tiny Trax shortly after you begin to master its tough gameplay which is a shame because there's a lot of potential here.
Finally, Tiny Trax can be a brutally difficult game but not always for the right reasons. In order to have a chance against the insanely tough AI players, you basically have to memorize every single track. This is because the track layouts are mostly unintuitive and they can even sometimes be downright disorienting. For example, when you're driving on the ceiling, it takes a lot to switch your brain's perception of left and right and sometimes you go from that to driving on the wall and back again in rapid succession. You'd think that there would be a difficulty option for a game this tough but there isn't one. As a result, Sunday drivers need not apply.
Tiny Trax is conceptually an excellent VR game but its lack of replay value, unintuitive track layouts, and frustrating level of difficulty are quite disappointing. On the other hand, if you're a fan of slot car racing then this is one game that you shouldn't overlook.
- + Simple yet challenging gameplay that's quite enjoyable to try and master
- + Incredible-looking variety of tracks
- + Includes online multiplayer
- - Limited replay value with only 12 tracks and few extra modes and challenges
- - Tracks require too much memorization
- - No difficulty option