PlayStation Plus has been wavering now for a few months. Gone are the days where Triple-A titles were on offer, being replaced by smaller and more modest indie titles. It’s not a bad thing mind you, for all the forgettable titles that get added to your console’s library a few gems are added as well. Table Top Racing: World Tour is one of the most recent additions to Sony’s monthly offerings and it unfortunately takes its place as another of PlayStation Plus’s forgettable games.
The premise of Table Top Racing: World Tour is strong. Imagine Micro Machines and Mario Kart combined and you can begin to imagine what kind of game it is. The game’s Championship mode has you progressing through increasingly difficult tournaments with each subsequent one allowing you to use faster cars. The three types of cars are Cult Classics, Street Racers and Supercars; each gives you the choice of four cars which you can purchase and then upgrade. The designs of the cars are great and you also get to upgrade ancillary things such as the paint job and the wheels. In fact the wheel can be the most interesting part of the upgrade options as each set offers a different bonus. For example there are wheels that let you drift, bounce and destroy all active weapons making customisation an important facet to your playstyle. So far Table Top Racing: World Tour has all of the ingredients for a great arcade style racer. Regrettably when it comes to the gameplay Table Top Racing: World Tour becomes a mundane chore that does little to separate it from an acceptable standard.
There are a few modes in the Championships that offer variety. The standard Combat mode has you racing against opponents and using weapons to stop their progress and increase your chances of winning. Maybe it’s the aura of Mario Kart looming large over this genre of game but the weapons on offer are fairly standard and rarely exciting. Offensive weapons include missiles, freeze shots, an EMP attack, acid trails, bombs and more. Successful attack lack impact however and certain attacks such as the acid trail do little to hinder progress. Other modes include a drift mode which is highly dependent on your choice of car, time trial, a pursuit mode where you have to catch up to an opponent, pure races without weapons and an elimination mode. The final of every Championship always features multiple combat races where your points are tallied up at the end of each race. The plethora of modes is welcome but the driving itself is never exciting enough to make them fun, making getting through races a chore. In fact the driving doesn’t feel responsive enough, making corners particularly tricky depending on how much you’ve upgraded your handling. It gets more enjoyable when you unlock better vehicles but by that time the allure has worn off.
The tracks are one of the best aspects of Table Top Racing: World Tour. There are five themed locations with each one offering a distinctive area to race around. Each location has a track that has four routes effectively giving you 20 tracks to race around. The changes to the routes aren’t significant enough to make it feel like there’s enough variation for each track. Saying that, the tracks are well designed with multiple shortcuts to find. One of the best inclusions is the ability to use weapon attacks to break or activate certain objects. It’s a neat little way to find shortcuts and activating an 80’s robot toy to drop blocks on enemy cars is always fun. The objects that are littered around the tracks give each location a charm. Things like magic 8 balls, fruit, sushi and workshop tools are just some of the items that give each track their unique properties.
The visuals complement the track design as well with bright and colourful hues on display. The cars gleam with vibrancy and the different track surfaces each allure to a certain texture. Its let down by some slightly garish looking weapon effects but overall Table Top Racing: World Tour is pleasant to look at.
Besides from the Championships mode there are also special events to take part in where you are limited to a certain car and wheel choice. Disappointingly though these events do little to stand out and don’t offer anything that you won’t have faced in the Championships. It can be fun to use some cars that you haven’t driven before, but as an extra mode it feels thin on content.
There’s also an online mode where you can race against other players. The offerings are fairly standard with weapon pickups, wheels, tracks and upgrades being the choices you can limit the games to. It’s an extra inclusion that adds longevity to anyone who enjoys racing and playing against real opponents is more satisfying than playing against the A.I.
For what could have been a unique and quirky racer Table Top Racing: World Tour is decidedly boring. The gameplay never surpasses an acceptable standard ultimately affecting the fundamental core of the game. It’s a shame too because if the gameplay was stronger then I’d actually quite enjoy playing through the game’s different modes. Whilst things such as the visuals and track design elevate the game they aren’t enough to make up for the driving. Table Top Racing: World Tour never gets off the starting line and when it does it stalls to a stop, making it a frustrating and disappointing game.
Table Top Racing: World Tour (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
For what could be an exciting arcade racer Table Top Racing: World Tour fails to make an impression. It's an acceptable racer but it does little to distinguish itself leaving it feeling standard and boring.