Review: Tiny Trax (PSVR)

Review: Tiny Trax (PSVR)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • PS VR Aim Controller None
  • Move None
Title: Tiny Trax
Format: PSN (2.6 GB)
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: FuturLab Limited
Developer: FuturLab Limited
Original MSRP: $19.99 (US), €15.99 (EU), £12.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

My recollection of FuturLab begins with a quirky little PlayStation Mini game called Coconut Dodge, followed by Surge, and the very popular Velocity Ultra and its sequel.

Flash forward a few years and along comes Tiny Trax for PlayStation VR, which looks to be an ambitious leap compared with what they are known for.

Gameplay:
Tiny Trax is essentially slot car racing in VR. You sit, or stand, in place and watch as the little cars race around the twisting track. All you do is press on the gas and boost while turning left and right.

Sounds easy doesn’t it? It should be, unless your name is Chazz and you happen to be reviewing the game.

Don’t get me wrong, I know how to play the game properly and on a few occasions have done quite well. But perfecting each turn so the boost builds up takes practice and skill. Turn too much or little and you either slow down or stall.

You can quickly switch tracks, which seems to help avoid clipping the outer borders when skidding round a corner. It isn’t necessary at every turn but it seems to help keep the momentum up and therefore the boost.

Your vehicle cannot hit the other racers on the track. It simply passes through and from what I can tell they don’t seem to slow you down either.

A skilled racer should be able to boost through an entire race, or most of it at least. I can only seem to manage third or maybe second place so far but it’s early days and I’m having a blast with it, largely due to the exceptional visuals. First up I should inform you of the amount of content you get for your bucks.

There are just twelve tracks, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but you’ll still be playing it for a while. This is mostly due to the increasing complexity of each one and the difficulty.

It will take some skill to achieve first place in all of the tracks unless you have a natural talent for this style of racing. Either way, there’s enough content to keep you going for a while.

The third placed car seems to keep pace with me if I happen to be struggling and it gives me something to battle with. The first place car makes few mistakes and is very tough to beat. They do have names but you don’t get any personality or imagery to distinguish any of the computer controlled racers.

One thing that I’m sure people will struggle with is achieving the painfully elusive Platinum Trophy, I have no hope of getting it and I salute those that do. This is one tough game but there isn’t any punishment for finishing in last place, in fact, the next cup unlocks regardless of your final score.

There are no upgrades or power-ups, you just have to improve. Learning the exact timings of every bend in the track and when to switch lanes is the only way you can win. It’s the only way of obtaining the Ultra Rare Trophies that elude so many of us.

Visuals:
Tiny Trax is a visual delight to behold. The bold and distinct colors make each track easy to see and the scenery is lovingly crafted and detailed. With each track I stare in wonder and awe as it winds and loops all around, snaking past my view, above and below my line of sight.

It feels like the developers at FuturLab went to great lengths to get the angles and inclinations of each track to look and feel good, only a turn of the head and maybe a little lean is all that’s needed to keep the focus on the action. I particularly like the title sequence that almost makes it feel like a 3D experience.

There are many subtle details that make this a game to show off to your friends and family. The glow of a pirate treasure horde and the icy chill of a frozen track suspended above a chasm of molten rock is truly marvelous.

The stunning visuals aren’t just for the tracks as the menu room has several little trinkets and knick-knacks that make me want to get a closer look. It’s also bathed in a soft light spilling through some blinds that capture the dust motes floating through the air.

Apart from changing the color of the available vehicles, you cannot customize them in any other way, which is a shame. I would like to have seen a visual representation of each A.I. character and maybe a few unlockable items to collect for my own. Just something to increase the longevity of this gorgeous game.

Audio:
The nice music and sound effects that fit well with the action. The 3D audio comes into play too, with the sound of the little vehicles only fully audible when they get close to the headset. I especially enjoy the little touches, like the way the music gets drowned out if you lower your head underwater on one particular track.

Online/Multiplayer:
The game includes an online mode where you can setup private or public races and invites friends to join. However, even after release, I couldn’t find any games and no one joined a lobby that I had created.

There are some leaderboards so I can see just how bad I am compared with the world and my friends but there’s no way of downloading their ghosts to race against.

Conclusion:
Tiny Trax is an excellent game with stunning visuals and nice tunes. The amount of content will frustrate some people but I’m fine with a number of tracks considering how much the game costs. I just wish I was better at the darn thing.

I’m sure it’ll be patched to alleviate some of the difficulty issues so I’m not too worried about that. I wish I had the ability to collect coins to spend in a shop on different paint jobs and custom boost effects.

Sadly there’s nothing much to keep people coming back unless they want to show off the innovative design and beauty of this beautiful PS VR game.

This is a great game that deserves a place in your VR library and I only hope enough people buy it so they can work on some DLC or a sequel.

Score:
7.5

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

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