All of us at some point in our lives have grabbed some toy cars and raced them across the floor. Even as a supposed adult it’s great fun (and a great way to entertain yourself during boring meetings if the cars are small enough). On several occasions, this childlike fun has been translated into video games quite successfully, from the obvious Micro Machines through to the likes of Mario Kart – and now Super Toy Cars wants in on the fun as well.
Super Toy Cars does a very good job of making it clear that these are, in fact, toy cars. Each of the tracks is littered with gigantic toys, fruit and other such objects that not only help show we are on a micro scale but also add some color and variety to environments.
The tracks themselves are okay but nothing to write home about, although the toys that line the edges can sometimes block you even though you’re sure you avoided it, which is probably down to poor collision detection. Another issue with the tracks is that occasionally areas that look like shortcuts turn out to be a poorly designed edge of the track, resulting in you hitting an invisible wall.
The dodgy areas of the tracks certainly aren’t helped by the strange physics engine. Cars will often become locked together, or a small tap into an object will bring you to a complete standstill. Getting stuck isn’t uncommon either, but a reset to track button relieves the frustration slightly. Still, at times the poor physics can cost you victory.
There are multiple toy cars to take for a spin, ranging from slow and bulky truck types through to the incredibly fast F1 style car and plenty in between. Each of the cars feels significantly different on track; it will take a lap or two for you to get accustomed to how each one differs from the last. The majority of cars are usable but I found a couple that I just couldn’t control effectively. Fortunately unlocking new cars in the career mode isn’t difficulty so I just moved on.
Speaking of career mode, it’s a fairly basic affair consisting of eight six-race grand prix each of which has six different races within it. Blasting through these shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours at best. Completing races will reward you with currency to buy new cars or upgrades, the unfortunate thing is that the rewards are too generous, so quickly you can buy an overpowered car for the event you are in and dominate unfairly.
The races themselves come in a few different flavors. Ranging from standard racing through to the excellent evade races which see the track littered with mines and the person in last place being periodically eliminated. The evade races can be chaos, with cars spinning out all over the place, but they are also incredibly fun and the most challenging of all the events.
Elsewhere there is a very detailed track editor that I’m sure some will use to create some impressive arenas. This is also the only place the gamepad is utilized, as on-track it just displays the action minus the HUD. My only gripe with the track editor is the lack of a tutorial, as to a younger audience it will be incredibly difficult to understand.
Amazingly there is no online multiplayer. Split-screen is available for up to four people but online is nowhere to be seen, which is a massive shame as Super Toy Cars would be brilliant online. Split screen multiplayer is still great fun, although those using traditional Wii-motes will have to get used to the strange control scheme.
VERDICT: If the physics engine is feeling kind then Super Toy Cars can be a lot of fun, especially in the evade races. However, most of the time you will find yourself being unfairly treated due to bad hit detection and general glitches. The career mode doesn’t offer much in the way of playtime so chances are if you are going to play for more than a few hours it will be in split-screen with others. Online multiplayer would have made Super Toy Cars a lot more attractive but at least the track editor is solid, if a little confusing.
DECENT. A 6/10 indicates that, while this game could be much better, it still has a fair amount to offer the player. It might be an interesting title sabotaged by its own ambition, or a game denied greater praise by some questionable design choices. Don’t avoid it outright, but approach it with caution.
Review code provided by publisher.