(Wii U eShop)

Super Toy Cars (Wii U eShop)

Game Review

Super Toy Cars Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Conor McMahon

Straight out the toy box

This summer, it could be argued that the demand for a non-realistic racing game on Wii U has well and truly been met, and another kart-style title is perhaps at the bottom of our wish list as a result. However, standing tall in the face of its moustachioed overlords, Eclipse Games has treated the eShop to an extra slice of arcade action with miniature combat racing — no assembly required.

Super Toy Cars is something of a modern take on the classic Micro Machines series, which pitted tiny vehicles against one another in a variety of races around familiar household locales. It’s the kind of action only a kid, (or kid at heart) could dream up, as nostalgic afternoons spent rolling toy cars around the living room are rendered fully playable once more. It’s a fun concept that opens up a whole slew of imaginative possibilities, but your enjoyment of Super Toy Cars will likely rely on your ability to forgive quite a few of the title’s quirks and mis-steps.

As it turns out, racing along table-tops and garden paths isn’t so dissimilar to the norm. Although tracks are a fraction of the size, career mode follows the same structure as many other titles in the genre — in single player you’ll select a car and take on a series of ‘cups’ or stages, each consisting of six events that will test your miniature driving skills. There are actually quite a few cars to choose from, ranging from sportier models to clunky road-hogs, and these can all be customised as you see fit. Credits are earned both on the track and as a reward for winning events, which can then be used to purchase additional vehicles or on upgrades for your favourites.

Each vehicle handles differently, which encourages experimentation but exacerbates an ever-changing sense of weight and momentum. Improving boost duration, top speed and acceleration with upgrades can help even off a particularly bad ride, but then the physics engine suddenly steps in to remind players that they aren’t fully in control; it’s a permanent source of both hilarity and frustration, hovering between wonky and utterly manic depending on its mood. Making contact with another car will either send you bouncing off each other or lock you together in a doomed embrace, and attempting to land a jump will have players crossing their fingers tighter than the Dukes of Hazzard.

Fittingly enough, as a result of this you’ll quickly realise that the toy-room aesthetic affects not only the level design and visual flair of Super Toy Cars, but the driving itself as well. Eclipse has successfully made gameplay feel like the efforts of a child tossing toys around, but whether or not this adds up to a satisfying experience is highly variable. It’s telling that there’s a dedicated ‘reset’ button — allowing for quick placement back on the road after a bad crash — and with rivals shooting rockets or giant magic 8-balls you’ll definitely need it.

The events are a mixed bag, and a rather dull time trial mode proves that not only do the driving and drifting mechanics fall short when brought to the forefront, but the tracks themselves do as well. Once the novelty wears off, many of the courses blur together into a clump of cereal boxes, tin cans and fire hydrants. Their architecture is simple, meaning that what look like shortcuts can actually be invisible walls from time to time, so thankfully things do come alive with other cars on the track, with some props even dislodging when struck. A unique ‘evade’ mode also has racers attempt to win whilst navigating a dangerous minefield, and elimination makes last place a very dangerous position indeed.

Another unique feature is a very welcome track editor; fully controlled with the GamePad (which doesn’t get much use anywhere else) and expansive enough that anyone can create some pretty impressive layouts complete with a bank of resizable props. Unfortunately icons aren’t labelled, so we were forced to resort to some trial and error before we got to grips with the interface; a tutorial here would be very welcome, particularly as there’s one in place for general driving. Nonetheless, creative gamers will definitely enjoy seeing what can be done here, and the inclusion of an editor invites them to improve on the selection of tracks by designing their own.

At the time of writing, multiplayer is a strictly offline experience, with all events confined to the same console. Up to four players can compete using any car, picking and choosing both their preferred track and game mode. Though you can play just fine using either the GamePad or Pro Controller, the Wii Remote will likely be a port of call for most gatherings — but not as you know it. Eclipse has made the bizarre decision to map controls to the Remote in the upright position, stepping away from both motion controls and the standard horizontal position. Using this scheme, cars accelerate automatically to free up the d-pad and ‘b’ buttons, and we’re sure you can imagine it takes some getting used to.

Without company you’ll be playing solo, anyway, and this is a big disappointment — especially when it means that user-made tracks can’t be made available for download and shared online. The good news is that an upcoming patch is set to add in a few missing features, such as online leaderboards, so time will tell if this is something that can be included with future updates. Wishful thinking perhaps, but further online interaction would really elevate the overall experience.

These toys could do with a little extra polish, but as a budget title it performs fairly well. Visuals are clear and playful, and the often insane physics tend to create some havoc, which helps keep things interesting. Seeing AI opponents (Liam Boost, Craig McSpeed or the mighty Count Lightning, for example…) tossing and turning around the course adds frequent amusement, though the cheesy indie rock soundtrack that permeates the entire game is severely out of place and repeats often enough that you’ll forcibly learn the lyrics by the end.

Conclusion

With Super Toy Cars, you either embrace the weird physics and accept that this is a cheap, silly experience, or you don’t. Adopting the former mentality will net you a fun ride at a decent price, and though there are definitely far better racers on Wii U, the nostalgic may want to open the toy-box one more time. Boosted by an in-game track editor, it’s a solid chunk of content that will amuse if nothing else.

More Stories

Game Trailer

User Comments (22)

Prof_Clayton

#2

Prof_Clayton said:

Haha, you beat my review by five minutes. :D
Did you encounter any glitches too, such as driving off the edge of the Track Editor map? xD

ricklongo

#3

ricklongo said:

6/10 sounds about right. I got this day one and was slightly disappointed, especially after being pleasantly surprised by TNT Racers last year. It's fun enough, and the track editor is great, but the gameplay is kinda iffy.

XCWarrior

#6

XCWarrior said:

Sounds like the game is a patch and maybe the addition of online leaderboards and track sharing away from being a pretty good game.

Doesn't sound bad, doesn't sound great. I do love the idea of a track editor though... I'll keep it on my wish list, and reevaluate when/if a patch comes.

SquidzillaStaff

#7

Squidzilla said:

@Prof_Clayton On the day of release the gamepad display wasn't working too well, even on track editor - It just displayed black. So for a half hour I thought it was an actual oversight and this score was originally a lot lower, haha.

But all fine since then, for the most part!

Prof_Clayton

#8

Prof_Clayton said:

@Squidzilla Ah, I never encountered that issue. You should try the falling off the map one though, simply try out a track you're editing, and drive out. ;)
Overall, I agree with you, this game is iffy... but definitely could be a good game.

chewytapeworm

#9

chewytapeworm said:

This looks a bit better than I thought it would. But then anything that's similar to Micro Machines is probably going to be great!

Hero-of-WiiU

#10

Hero-of-WiiU said:

Cool game but there's many other things I still need to buy like Guacamelee, SK, and Pushmo World.

BearClaus

#12

BearClaus said:

the often insane physics tend to create some havoc

But I thought Havok tended to create some physics! :O :P :$

audiobrainiac

#14

audiobrainiac said:

Looks ok, but i'll stick to MK8 for all my non-realistic racing needs. I'm really gonna need a real racing sim like Project Cars soon. Will no one else take on that challenge? Jeez...

ULTRA-64

#15

ULTRA-64 said:

I like this type of game but I never bothered with track editors in the past and I've got about a third of tnt racing left so let's hope there's a few patches and a sale due for this one later.

cornishlee

#16

cornishlee said:

I loved Micro Machines but that was what, twenty years ago? So maybe my memories are rose tinted. I can't remember what the handling was like in that but I don't recall it being like what's described here.

Anyway, that music precludes a purchase as it is.

PinkSpider

#17

PinkSpider said:

Ok while not a great game, an indie game like this offers a track editor but something like mario kart 8 which should have had something like this by now still doesn't include it. Love mario kart 8, think it's amazing but... The features are so lacking. Sonic racing has better choice than mario kart 8. Granted it's an inferior game but at least it's there. I'm quite tempted to pick this up for the level editor alone.

PinkSpider

#18

PinkSpider said:

Ok while not a great game, an indie game like this offers a track editor but something like mario kart 8 which should have had something like this by now still doesn't include it. Love mario kart 8, think it's amazing but... The features are so lacking. Sonic racing has better choice than mario kart 8. Granted it's an inferior game but at least it's there. I'm quite tempted to pick this up for the level editor alone.

617Sqn

#21

617Sqn said:

Really fancy this, but will wait until we get some reviews of table top racing, which is due out next week.

NiBar

#22

NiBar said:

This game would be fun if it was more smooth. It's only around 20 fps. Come on, you can do better..

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...