Nostalgia is a huge factor when it comes to remastering video games, well in the eyes of the player anyway. A Chance to relive past games that mean something special to you or just to take a trip back to a totally different generation of gaming is something a good portion of gamers these days are more than happy to spend their hard earned money on. But it is very true to say that sometimes, just sometimes nostalgia is not enough to carry a game and sadly Micro Machines World Series is a good example of this truth.
I first played Micro Machines back in the day on both Megadrive and Amiga. It was just so much fun, racing tiny toy vehicles on crazy race tracks such as kitchen tables, school desks and bedroom floors. I remember it being amazing fun so when I heard that another attempt to bring the series back was to be made with Micro Machines World Series I was genuinely excited. But in the clear light of day, once the nostalgia factor wears off, which it did very quickly I might add, what is left is a rather hollow experience that does not deserve the £24.99 price tag.
Micro Machines World Series brings back the top down racing gameplay of the original series but this time making it an online only experience. Focusing on three game modes; Racing, Battle and Elimination but trying to blend in the leveling up and loot crate reward system of Overwatch. The same top down racing style is back as is the heavily drifting style of driving and for the first hour or two; this game packs a nostalgia punch with a modern twist but sadly quickly lost my interest. This game feels like the old Xbox 360 Arcade titles as in a game that would be priced at £10 or just over but at £24.99, this game lacks enough content to justify that price.
In being an online only game, it misses out on what made the original series so great, single player experience. The modes it offers are all online competitive modes, with the main focus all going into the battle modes which features capture the flag and deathmatch elements making it a meatier mode than the other two. Elimination is a race to say in front where falling off the screen will mean instant elimination from the race. The largest disappointment for me though is in the Race mode, consisting of five lap races this mode is perhaps the backbone of the original series yet in World Series it feels polluted by the merging it with battle mode elements. Weapons play a big part in racing similar to Mario Kart and make this mode rather unbalanced at times. The main issue for me is that with this mode featuring the largest number of players at twelve, it can become a complete shambles when all you want to do is race to be first. Weapons such as branded Nerf guns and bombs do feel almost natural in the game but for me the headache comes in the form of the Hammer, capable of instantly destroying a vehicle with a direct hit or having a push effect if hammering the ground near a vehicle that can give it a push off course.
Now to try and be a little fair, the power-ups that can be collected are random in that you wont know what you get till you pick one up but then you get races where it feels like everyone else is getting the hammer weapon whilst all you get is the Nerf gun, which can stun cars but require at least five straight hits in order to destroy a vehicle. All I want to do is just race, that is it and with tracks so wonderfully designed with bends to navigate and cheeky shortcuts to find, to just have a race turn into a MC Hammer Time party takes the shine off it and builds frustration which is the main downside to this game. There is frustration in every aspect of this game for me, from the game types to the levelling up system which is very much a copy of how Overwatch does it. Level up as a player and you will be gifted with a loot box to open full of cosmetic items for the different vehicles from skins to voice lines. The grind to level up however is very real and often not very fun once the initial nostalgia sensation wears of. There is a goal of reaching level ten as a player which will then unlock the ranked mode in the game and grant access to special online events but sadly by the time you reach that level, this game has already become an after thought.
Sad to say but Micro Machines World Series became a very hollow experience far too quickly for me. The top down view and gameplay was a refreshing revisit to the past however, pricing it at £24.99 with so little content really tarnishes this as a release. This is £10 level game for what it offers and whilst the online gives it a new audience in this modern age, it just lacks anything to justify that price tag. Visually it looks great and the gameplay can be great fun but the frustration and grind to access the main elements such as special events and ranked mode suck the fun out of it. This really is a missed opportunity to use the series to create something really worth while but it feels like a half done job priced far too highly for what you get in terms of content. I found it annoying that when taking this online, the majority of other players I faced ended up being the AI Bots used to fill spaces due to not enough human players joining, a contradiction to deciding not to have a single player element or offline mode.
I had hoped for more but this is a pick up and put down in an hour title that will be fun with friends on the sofa with the local play mode but there is so little to keep you interested compared with other titles out there right now for similar prices. I expect to see this become a Games with Gold or PS Plus title within the next year, it just has that feel to it right now, definitely one to avoid until the sales or a visit to a bargain bin in a few months. Nostalgia is not enough to keep this game going and it lacks enough to keep newcomers to the series around.