Table Top Racing has a charming aesthetic. Each track depicts a different scene filled with everyday objects; you’ll find yourself meandering hectic courses around picnic rugs, crowded work surfaces and restaurant tables. I assure you that cornering a blueberry muffin chicane never gets old. It’s a loveable design, and one that bears a lot of resemblance to Micro Machines, which shouldn’t be considered a bad thing at all.
In contrast to other racers in the genre Table Top Racing features a default behind car view when driving, which provides a better experience than the top-down approach. I’ve always found a top-down view of the track to be hugely frustrating in racing games as you cannot corner with as much precision.
Despite this, the control scheme does feature some bizarre choices. For example, the rear view mirror is designated to the rear touchpad of the Vita, which becomes quite an irritating issue for Vita users with large hands like myself. As a result of trying to avoid constantly driving blind I had to position my hands awkwardly, which later gave rise to cramp.
Table Top Racing is a perfect pick-up and play title. The racing mechanics are extremely simple; there’s no skill or strategy required, and very rarely will you find yourself lifting your finger off the accelerate button. As a standard racer this would, understandably, be quite dull, but thankfully Table Top Racing adds in wheel-to-wheel combat to make the races a little more hectic.
Dotted around each circuit are wooden crates, which when smashed, gift you with various weapons and abilities, including speed boosts, homing missiles, mines and EMP strikes. Of course, it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before in previous combat racers, but nevertheless they manage to make each race very different from the last. Expect laps full of carnage and destruction, with the sprint to finish often being decided by hundredths of a second in the later stages of the game.
There’s plenty of content on offer for price too – something you don’t hear very often in the world of gaming. In total there are four championships to complete, each containing over thirty unique events, including time trial and elimination events as well as standard races. On top of this you can also attempt drift challenges and specials events. However, don’t expect any real challenge from the AI until the latter events of the final championship – it’s all a bit too easy.
There’s a good selection of upgradable vehicles to unlock. After each event you are awarded with in-game coins which you can use to improve the performance of your miniature car, or use to purchase new sets of wheels. For instance, where as one set allows your vehicle to jump and access shortcuts, another will equip your vehicle with Boudicca spikes, giving the AI a nasty shock if they get too close.
The customisation aspect is surprisingly extensive, and you’ll find yourself wanting to try out every vehicle and wheel set on offer. There is the option to buy more coins with your own hard earned cash, but you shouldn’t need to do this as everything can be unlocked with a little bit of patience.
Multiplayer racing is also an option in Table Top Racing, but you may run into difficulty trying to find a lobby to join. I can imagine the game being far more enjoyable against local friends which makes me wonder why the game isn’t coming to consoles. Although previously an iOS title, I could see Table Top Racing being quite a successful split screen racer.
Table Top Racing combines gameplay elements previously seen in the likes of Mario Kart and Crash Team Racing to create a well-balanced racer that becomes increasingly hectic as you bump up the difficulty. There’s a great deal of content to be had too considering the low entry price.