Table Top Racing Preview
One of the nice things about mobile gaming is that it gives developers an easier platform to evolve and experiment with some of the games we fondly remember, without publishers fretting over retail reaction. Table Top Racing is a case in point, a game that pays more than a few homages to Micro Machines, albeit with a third-person take on the racing action instead of a top-down approach.
Still, the silliness you've craved is here in abundance amongst some pretty tight racing action. The soft focus visuals do a grand job of bringing tables and benches alive, as you skid your way perilously around day-to-day obstacles like cartons of orange juice, bowls and cutlery in the kitchen, and toy blocks and Russian dolls in the nursery.
Starting off with the very heavy and silly ice-cream van, you work your way through a series of table-top racing championships. Some races might require you to beat a fixed time, while others challenge you to catch up with a lead vehicle and then ram it within a time limit. Elsewhere you have the more traditional races, where a fleet of micro vehicles compete to be the first passed the finishing line. Success across the game rewards you with new vehicles such as jeeps, RC cars, and sports cars. Each has its own specialties in power and performance, and you can tweak things further by purchasing new tires with the game currency you earn.
To spice things up even further, each course is littered with mystery power-up boxes, and the first one to grab the box gets the randomly-chosen booty. The radial EMP blast brings the engines of any nearby cars to a temporary halt, for example, while throwing a bomb behind you into the chasing pack is about as satisfying as it sounds. We don't need to draw you a picture for the homing-missile, suffice to say that while we weren't able to set up a multiplayer match during our preview time, we are looking forward to wiping a few smiles off player faces online.
At this stage of development, we only ran into one occasional problem with the game, and that's the narrowness of the courses combined with the generosity of power-up provision. Satisfying though it is to take out your nearest competitors, it's also very easy to become entangled behind them immediately afterwards. It's not so much of a problem in the single-race challenges - and, in fact, is part of the silly fun of power-up racing - but in the events where you need to top a leaderboard over a series of races, it can be a bit frustrating.
With that small disclaimer aside, what we can report at this stage is that Table Top Racing is not only a very entertaining racer, it's also packed full of content, looks gorgeous, and has the potential to consume many hours of your gaming time from the single-player section alone. With a little balancing of the power-up action, we think Playrise might be onto something big in mobile racing this year.