At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Micro Pico Racers is the second coming of the classic racing franchise Micro Machines. Indeed, with its colourful pixelated design (and the blatant fact that it has the word Micro in the title), the game is a clear homage to Codemasters’ series of arcade racers. Unfortunately, despite its tantalisingly low entry price, Micro Pico Racers is hard to recommend, with gameplay so barebones, the experience sadly falls on its micro behind.
The bulk of the game sees you complete a variety of bite-sized tasks, taking you through a series of challenges from ‘Novice’ level right up to ‘Master’ level. On the surface, there’s a decent amount of challenges here to be cracking on with, but when each one takes – at most – a minute or so to complete, it won’t take long to get through all of them. Having said that, the difficulty spikes in the game are often ludicrous, and largely hinges on which vehicle you choose to drive. If you don’t choose the exact specification needed for the challenge, chances are you’ll fail and need to start over.
To elaborate on this a bit, one of the challenges involves executing multiple drifts in order to fill up a bar to 100%, all within a short timeframe. The game is excruciatingly harsh on how you pull these off; stray just a touch over the edge of the road, and the game won’t register it as a successful drift. You’ll need to choose a vehicle that not only drifts around corners with ease, but also has a decent rate of acceleration in order to get to the next corner in the nick of time. It discourages experimentation, and you’ll quickly start relying on the same vehicles depending on which challenge you partake in.
Visually, Micro Pico Racers is okay at best, utilising a simplistic pixelated style with a birds-eye camera view by default. If this isn’t your style, then the good news is you can switch the camera to an isometric view, or directly behind the vehicles. In addition, you can alter the zoom of the camera, so you can move this away if you want a better view of the track. Sadly, though, there’s very little visual flair at work here; the tracks themselves are bland, and the surrounding environment is really no better. In a bizarre addition, spectators can also wander into the middle of the road, and if you happen to run into them, they’ll turn into a spreading puddle of blood. It’s a frankly baffling addition to a game that’s otherwise quite suitable for all ages, so we’re not sure what the thinking was behind this.
There’s an argument to be made here that the low entry price is perhaps reason enough for the experience you’ll be getting with Micro Pico Racers. Ultimately, though, racing games need to be fun, and this really isn’t that fun. It’s a shame, because the game isn’t broken in any way, and actually runs very well for the most part. But the gameplay just isn’t up to scratch, and you’ll be better off leaving this at the pit stop.