This copy of Table Top Racing World Tour for PC was provided with a press key.
Mobile gaming. Let’s face it, it’s pretty mediocre. Good mobile games are ones which are designed to be quick blast experiences which suit the mobile experience. Sitting down to a proper game session for me has never involved whipping out my phone or tablet for a few hours (though it sometimes happens on a train or a plane) but if I want a real gaming experience, throughout my life it’s always involved a PC or console. I’ve tried “proper” games on mobile devices. Grand Theft Auto’s, Max Payne’s, SimCity (back when EA supported the proper version), NBA Jam, the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, most of these have multiple facets of what I’d consider to be a compromised experience on mobile. Touch screen controls are terrible, particularly if you need to do much more than a direction and a single button like in some of the more complicated games.
So I find it odd that I’m sitting here reviewing what was originally a mobile game (the original Table Top Racing was developed for iOS then Android) which has now made the jump to PC (and consoles). I never played TTR until now, but I can understand how it could make for a successful mobile gaming experience. Relatively simple controls mean you can keep an eye on the action rather than looking for virtual buttons on screen to press, a quick get up and go experience which still seems rewarding and some decent progression.
But does it work as a PC game? That’s a different conundrum. Gaming over the years has taken a lot of different turns. The traditional lots of hours full priced game has made space for lighter games which perhaps don’t give as much depth, although often give as much (sometimes even more!) fun. Flashback time. Anyone remember Micro Machines? That’s going back a bit. How about Re-volt? Mario Kart? Sure, everyone knows Mario Kart right? These games over the years have shown how the classic formula can and does work on big screens.
And so to it. The game is basically as you would expect. An awesome funk soundtrack, easy to pick up, hard to put down racer. Progression is as you would expect for a racing game. Start with a junker, do some events, get some credits, upgrade your junker, do more events. It’s great though as the game never feels like a grind. There is a possibility to go a bit over the top on the upgrades and it’s a small downside that you can make the game too easy by doing this, but that’s your choice. I tend to do races first and only after consistently struggling for a few goes do I upgrade the car. Presents a bit more of a challenge from the first few times when I just spent all my credits upgrading the car as soon as I got them and before long was beating everything by miles.
Car selection is fun, from the names to the vehicles themselves. Braking’s Bad, Treemaster CO2, Fauxrari, McHandful and the Zomg-A among others all represent what you’d expect them to be and look like perfect caricatures of their real world counterparts. The Somy Walkman or Ray Bun sunglasses of the car world. Cars are broken down into three categories (cult classics, street racers and supercars). In the garage, you can also upgrade your car. No camber alignments to worry about here, jump in and choose whether to upgrade top speed, acceleration, handling or armour. Wheels with weapons or different looks/capabilities and a paint shop round out the options.
Gameplay is fast and fun! A few lap events around a variety of landscapes start with single events and progress to the championship finale which is a multi-event final with points awarded for finishing position per event. Normal build up events include time trials, pure races and battle races among variations upon these themes.
As you would expect, there are a variety of power ups using the traditional “drive through the glowing cube” mechanic to get an item which include such traditional powers like a speed bost, missile, guided missile, lightning bolt etc. Each race gives you an overview screen before you enter it showing you the type of event, what you need to do to get 1, 2 or 3 stars (and hence progress), as well as what kinds of wheel weapons your opponents will have (if any) and the powers available from cubes.
There’s still the slight downer that as with most games these days, DLC is a thing and it feels a little cheap not to give it all to people buying the desktop version, particularly when it limits your ability to join multi-player games (if the host is hosting a race with a DLC pack, you can’t join unless you also have it). The game isn’t expensive, but it’s also not cheap for the number of hours you’ll get out of it.
The only other negative I found is that there seem to be issues with some controllers. An update has been issued and it should work now with standard XBox One controllers, but controllers by other brands which are supposed to be compatible with XB1 are still having problems.
Is Table Top Racing World Tour original? Hell no! Is it an awesome game? Hell yeah! At a (currently on sale) price of £12.74 on Steam, it’s a highly recommended from me. It plays well, has fund to look at environments and cars, reasonable graphics and a decent number of events included (completing the first championship with three stars for every event gave me 21 stars out of a total of 258 available or just over 8% of the game in a little under an hour). Of course it’s more expensive than it’ll be on mobile, but I can play this at 4K (as the screenshots show!). All in all, a great game.