Review: Micro Machines World Series (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC, Mac, Linux

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Micro Machines World Series
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (4.4 GB)
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Publisher: Codemasters
Developer: Codemasters / Just Add Water
Original MSRP: $29.99 (US), €29.99 (EU), £24.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

I have fond memories of the Micro Machines games and hoped for a long time that it would make a full-fledged return.

Gameplay:
I’m not going to spend much time in this section as the game has no single player mode and the controls are pretty easy for anyone to figure out.

You view the game from a top-down perspective and race tiny vehicles across little makeshift tracks on breakfast tables, desks, and even a snooker table.

It’s how kids played in real life many years ago when they weren’t glued to a tablet watching Netflix. They would have their little Micro Machines, yes they are actual toys, and they would race them around the table or out in the garden. Codemasters had the bright idea of turning that into a game and now fifteen years and six major releases later, here we are with a brand new iteration.

I’m happy to see there are some sneaky shortcuts and a few alternate routes to take. The classic drifting round corners is just as easy to do and it mostly feels like the older games. There are some licensed things in the game like Nerf weapons and the G.I. Joe tank which are nice to see. I especially like the fake magazines and spilled milk as it all brings back fond memories.

Driving through some sticky glue or gloopy icing will make your vehicle slow down and leave a tire trail. There are plenty of other things that get in your way and while most don’t slow you down all that much, they can be troublesome. You’ll find everything from acorns to baked beans and even breakfast cereal that looks an awful lot like Cheerios.

There are plenty of vehicles to unlock along with paint jobs, voice lines, grave stamps, and even gloats. All of these can be acquired through leveling-up your experience and spending coins. Each time you reach a new rank you can open a loot box which contains random things, some of which you might own already, and these are automatically converted into coins.

You only earn all of this stuff in the online Quick Play or Ranked matches so I will continue this in the online section of the review after I mention one of the great things about the game, the graphics.

Visuals:
The game looks great, with a subtle use of tilt shift to show off how small the cars really are. When the level first loads you’re treated to a pan-out from your chosen vehicle so you get to see all of the small details that would otherwise be missed in the heat of battle.

There are plenty of interesting things littering the sides of the makeshift tracks with heaps of nostalgia. It was nice to watch my kids play just so I could take in all of the accoutrements.

I love that you can knock around pretzels and Cheerios, skid through milk, and knock other cars off the edge of the table. There’s a bucket load of vehicles to use though not as many as the PlayStation 2 iteration because that was just ridiculous.

Audio:
The menu music begins to annoy after a while as you will spend a large part of your play session waiting for a game to be found. I do like the music in general and some of the vehicle voices and their unlockable comments and taunts can be mildly amusing.

Online/Multiplayer:
You will be spending the entire game online, even if you decide to play the tacked on local multiplayer modes that only feature single-screen lackluster Free-For-All and Elimination modes. Yes, you read that correctly, there is no Race option for local multiplayer. If you load up and start the local Skirmish mode with you as the only human participant then you can race against bots.

Now just for comparison, Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament that released in the mid 90’s had support for up to eight local players. It was a great game and one that I will always remember fondly. It’s the main reason why I’m so upset with this pitiful offering.

Okay, so I have moaned about the embarrassing local options, but what does the online game entail? A somewhat broken and uneven chore unfortunately. You will spend around a minute or so waiting for a game to be found and sometimes another minute before it actually loads.

On many occasions I have been sat waiting for the starting lights to go green and pressed down on the trigger, only to find my vehicle accelerating off the starting line prematurely. The oddities don’t stop there as the other vehicles would randomly appear as I travel around the track, some are stuck on the starting line and one or two would appear motionless in midair.

On the rare occasion, I get a normal race and things can be fun and frustrating. It’s all too easy to get knocked into the last place and never get a chance to recover. Even the AI drivers can be a pain.

The Battle modes are quite hectic but still entertaining, at least once you get a lay of the land and hopefully enough real people to take the place of the annoying computer-controlled cars. This has become a major issue since the game’s release as it takes longer to find anyone to play, and more often than not, it’s just one human opponent.

Conclusion:
The game does some things right. It works well in reigniting the fond nostalgia I had for the old games and can be a fun experience when it works. I am very disappointed that the online mode is so broken that I struggle to play a stable game at least one out of every three attempts. This issue is compounded by the lack of a proper local multiplayer offering.

Micro Machines World Series is sometimes a good game and could eventually be much better if the issues are fixed. It would be a great game if it had some proper local modes. I personally would have much preferred to have had some races with my family and friends. Because of that it never feels like a complete return of the franchise.

Score:
6.0

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

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  • Toybox Turbos on PS3, also by Codemasters, was a hidden gem. Now they finally get the Micro Machines license but make the game worse. Not sure how that was possible, a shame.

    • ChazzH69

      The game, when it works and you have enough real players, is great and full of nostalgia. Some patches could fix the online issues, if the community lasts long enough to see it.

  • I loved Toybox Turbos from a couple years ago. I think Codemasters must
    have lost the license for a couple years because they have been pumping
    out Micro Machines games for over 25 years since the early 90s on the
    NES. I have a ton of good memories putting a lot of time into the NES,
    Genesis, N64 and GBC versions. I heard there are a couple drawbacks to
    this version like Chazz mentioned above, but as long as it has a decent
    single player career offering I’ll be happy.