Some genres have games that stand head and shoulders above their rivals, and one of these is Micro Machines. Table top racing games have been around for years, and many developers have tried to compete with the addictive gameplay and fun action that can be found when playing this arcade racer. I’m always dubious when a new contender enters the playing field, so when I was offered Tinker Racers I was sceptical.
Developed by Rumbora Game Developer and published by QUByte Interactive, this fast-paced racing game tests; your reactions, reflexes and driving skills, and your ability to survive. To make it stand out from others in the genre, Tinker Racers has strayed away from the standard formula, mostly. It doesn’t rely on a Grand Prix to crown its champion. Aggression, destruction and a picture perfect memory will help you be the victor.
Tinker Racers is survival of the fastest.
You will race indefinitely, against a random number of opponents in a variety of machines. Events take place in; an office, kitchen and bedroom floor, where your everyday objects form the hazards and obstacles that you must avoid. Each contender has a health bar that starts at 100%. As you collide with items, fall from surfaces, and fail to make jumps it slowly depletes. If the gauge reaches 0 its race over. If you fall too far behind and out of the screen, then a point is awarded to your opponents, and the race begins again.
The winner is the first team to score 5 points, or the first person to destroy an opponent’s vehicle. This is the main concept of the game, and there is nothing complicated about it. Jump in your vehicle, start your race, and try to survive. It would be a simple affair if it wasn’t for the everyday objects trying to smash your car to pieces. Beach balls bounce in your path, ball bearings cave your bonnet in, and glue, jam and other sticky substances slow you down. It’s a challenge trying to get around the course in one piece, especially as the opposing team bash into you, and send you flying into the abyss at regular intervals.
A short, but addictive game.
Tinker Racers isn’t the most in-depth game I’ve taken on. There are no custom options, the vehicles are all the same, except for the visuals, and there is no rivalry between drivers. Yet this mattered not! You move from level to level (18 all told), crashing into each other and hoping to survive for long enough to become a champion. The small tracks increase in size and complexity as you progress. The opponents become more aggressive and staying out of trouble becomes a hazardous task.
You quickly go from winning with ease, to losing race after race. And though it was frustrating, each defeat drove you to keep playing. Once you have finished swearing, and you have completed the main game, you are then treated to a few different modes to keep you entertained. Each uses the established tracks and venues, and will challenge you to; beat the developers best times, win a traditional race, and try a freestyle game that is just for fun. Points are awarded for every competition you take on, these have little bearing on how it plays out, but a leaderboard highlights how you compare to other players.
A simple art style and table top perspective.
Fans of Micro Machines will love the style that Rumbora Game Developer has incorporated. It’s a colourful yet simple game that is pleasant on the eyes. Each of the locations show an oversized version of each object that you expect to find. Pencils appear to be metres long, oscillating fans look like wind turbines and will deviate you off course. The beach balls fall from the sky like meteorites from space. It’s a wonderfully elaborate scene that will make you smile the crazier it gets. It didn’t surprise me that this ran really well. There were no performance issues, even when the action got hectic, and many vehicles were present.
The childish nature of this title continued with the loud and obnoxious audio. I really enjoyed its beat riddled tunes. The up tempo music was the perfect accompaniment to the destruction that was taking place on the screen. From the moment the game loads in, the scene is set; you know you are in for a hectic time. Sadly, there is a distinct lack of variety in the music selection, and as a result, it gets tedious, especially when you are trying, and failing, to win races or attempting to beat the developers lap times.
Accelerate and brake. Nothing more and nothing less.
You can’t ask for an easier game to play. All that is required is the ability to accelerate, brake and steer. If you can master these three elements and you have luck on your side, then you will be a winner. This doesn’t mean that the vehicles always do what you want. No, they handle like unruly beasts, swerving and sliding across the track as if driven by a drunkard. This accompanied with the constant barging can infuriate. You can go from leader to loser in a split second. Fortunately, you get used to the madness and take it all in your stride. The random inconsistencies are all part of the fun, and you learn to live with them.
I have to admit that my scepticism was misplaced. Once I got into the swing of things, I couldn’t put this down. I completed the survival element in one sitting and went onto the single races and time trials. This is one addictive game that keeps you coming back for more. Tinker Racers has added multiplayer gaming to further increase its replay value. Join as one team for the survival races and take down the opposition, or race against each other in the traditional events. There is plenty to do in this small indie title.
Does Tinker Racers compare to Micro Machines?
It can be a useful exercise comparing games, but it also can be an unfair task. Tinker Racers has tried to take a piece of the table top racing scene and make it its own. Its unique idea makes it stand out, and I think it works well in creating an addictive and fast-paced arcade racer. It doesn’t have the depth that Micro Machines has, but it does enough to have a place in your gaming library. I recommend you buy your copy here! Jump in your car, avoid the obstacles and survive for as long as possible.