Review: Table Top Racing: World Tour (PS4)

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Title: Table Top Racing: World Tour
Format: PlayStation Network Download (1.7 GB)
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Playrise Digital
Developer: Playrise Digital
Original MSRP: $19.99 (US), €19.99 (EU), £14.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 7
Table Top Racing: World Tour is also available on Xbox One, PC, iOS, and Android. The original game, Table Top Racing, is available on PlayStation Vita, iOS, and Android.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was acquired by the reviewer as part of the May 2016 PlayStation Plus free game offering.
PS Nation Review Policy

DLC Review(s) For This Game:
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As a young lad, I would play with my toy cars using an assortment of books, toys, and furniture as obstacles, ramps, and bridges. I only had four boring TV channels and eventually an Amstrad CPC 464 to keep me amused on the rainy British weekends, so my little cars would often become cops and robbers, spies and evil henchmen, or just a stock car pileup.

Gone are the days of steering a tiny A-Team van around my bedroom floor, racing KITT from Knight Rider along the school desks. These fond memories now come flooding back as I play the new game from Playrise Digital.

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Gameplay:
Table Top Racing: World Tour is apparently a port of a mobile phone game. I kid you not. This exceptional racing game bears little resemblance to its lesser cousin. It didn’t make the jump straight to from the phones and tablets, instead it appeared on the PlayStation Vita and garnered some high praise from our very own Glenn Percival.

Much like the classic Micro Machines series of video games that came out on most of the older systems, you play as a toy car in a real world setting. Driving around on a table in a YO! Sushi restaurant or car chop shop with obstacles such as a can of oil, spark plugs, sushi, or a frying pan makes for a very interesting and sometimes pleasantly distracting fun experience.

… hidden bonus coins placed sneakily in the course …
Knocking into some bolts strewn across the track sending them careening into the other racers close on your tail, ploughing into an orange and watching it roll down a slope like a bizzaro-Indiana Jones moment is something to behold and stare aghast as everyone swerves out of the way.

Glancing a pillar of ice cubes on the table of a fancy yacht in the Mediterranean causes a book to drop down and a shortcut to open up, giving the opportunity to grab one of the hidden bonus coins placed sneakily in the course. There are a few shortcuts and alcoves to find and some still elude me after playing for quite some time.

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You can upgrade your ride using the hidden coins and money awarded for your finishing position and extras if you happen to damage any other vehicles in the race. With better speed, acceleration, handling, and armour you stand a better chance at the challenging first place position.

This is not a hard game, it’s just challenging and very rewarding. If you struggle to get an elusive three stars for a particular time trial or elimination round you can always come back after beating the championship cup and race with any unlocked vehicle regardless of class.

Collecting some of the hidden coins can take some skill and even unique upgrades. You might not even be able to get near some of them until later on in the game when you open up different routes. You can equip new rims that act as special power-ups such as a rechargeable bounce or drift manoeuvre. There is so much to attain and strive toward and have loads of fun in the process.

… at least there is no Blue Shell …
My one gripe is that the power-ups seem a tad on the weak side. These floating bubbles offer an E.M.P. blast, missiles, an ice blast, and more. Most feel too weak and often do little to the other vehicles. My favourite is the ice blast that temporarily freezes any cars caught. Watching them turn into a frozen block and haphazardly slide along for a short time always makes me smile.

Later on in the game, you can eventually double the strength of a weapon by grabbing another bubble but the risk of waiting and the added power isn’t always worth the gamble. More variety of weapons would be welcome but at least there is no Blue Shell.

Visuals:
From the super cute and cool exaggerated vehicles to the Gulliver’s Travels sized courses that offer so many distractions, it can be hard to stay on the track because everything just looks so damn good. I love the Back to the 80’s course situated in a dusty attic with old toys and collectors cards dotted around the track.

I hope any future DLC brings more variety to the vehicles and some extra customization options. What we have now is great, but I want more, so much more. Maybe even some licensed cars, vans, and even bikes from my childhood TV shows.

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Audio:
The game has a thumpin’ breakbeat and tunes – wow, I feel so old writing that. Do people even say that kind of thing anymore? Probably best not to dwell on such thoughts. The surprisingly thunderous roar of the little engines that could, do their best to drown out the exciting music by Wes Smith and friends.

… everything I want from an arcade racer …
Online/Multiplayer:
My kids grabbed a DualShock 4 and asked if they could join in, sadly they couldn’t. At least not yet anyway, as the Playrise Digital team has said they will hopefully implement local multiplayer in the future.

There is an excellent online mode where you can host or join custom championships with friends or random players. Each race I took part in was very good with one tiny issue of lag, but nothing to spoil the fun.

It only has one real weakness which is the same for the singleplayer mode, most of the weapons rarely turn the tide of a race. It remains a fun experience regardless, just a little tame sometimes. The skill of the racers shine through a little more I suppose.

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Conclusion:
Table Top Racing: World Tour is everything I want from an arcade racer. The style and the look of the cars is fantastic. So much so that I want a few to adorn my desk. The varied themes are great and distinctive, and each track is fun and exciting.

Once you upgrade a few cars and find a nice racing line, you can consistently do well in most events but I still found it challenging later on. It does feel rewarding fun throughout the entire game and it’s a nice solid arcade racer on a system that seems lacking in the genre.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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