A Micro Machines knock-off at best, Tiny Racer might provide a decent sense of scale with large set pieces and small cars but fails in every other department. This is one racer that steers off the road right into a light pole without insurance.
Upon first firing up this eShop digital download, I couldn’t get my controller to sync. After a few minutes of trial and error, I realized that the Pro Controller is not compatible with this title; only the JoyCons work. For a Switch owner that only plays in docked mode, this is annoyingly unacceptable.
Tiny Racers is a very simple game as only two buttons are used: accelerate and respawn. Technically a third button, break, is also assigned to a button but this feature will never be used, making this a needless feature. There are no weapons or special abilities of any kind which makes this arcade style racer complete bland and tasteless. Worst yet, the collision physics make the entire experience nearly unplayable. Gently bumping into an opponent’s vehicle will instantly force a beeline for the barrier on either side of the track. Once wildly falling off course, the player needs to press that respawn button to get back into the action. There were laps were I pressed the respawn button more than the acceleration button. The best rank I could earn on the easiest difficulty was 5th place thanks to the wickedly slippery controls.
Making matters worse, this racer has some of the worst stage design I have ever seen in a racing game. It is so bad, there are times when the player is faced with a jump or ledge that forces a crash and restart; there is no way to land certain obstacles. Mandatory fails is simply terrible design and the pinnacle of frustration.
Visually, the presentation also doesn’t make sense as the depth of field is literally blurred from the player. For some stupid reason, the game implements a blurring effect so the player cannot see what is coming next. Functionality-wise, this needlessly makes the game more difficult for the player. From an aesthetic stand point, the developers purposely made their game uglier as the player cannot enjoy any detail. I supposed this effect was placed in the final product to make the driver feel “tiny” but, again, makes the game almost unplayable. Then, each time you bump into another racer or a part of the environment, a comic book style word like “wham” appears for some reason. Umm, yeah, I know I just ran into that racer because the controls are terrible, you don’t need to visually showcase a word to read in a text bubble! The percussion heavy soundtrack is also dreadful.
With some many basic things wrong, I am not sure Tiny Racer even qualifies as a finish product. There are Steam Early Access titles with more polish and detail than this. Paying money for this is an insult.
Not As Good As: Table Top Racing World Tour – Nitro Edition (Switch eShop)
Don’t Forget About: Racing Gears Advance (GBA)
Wait For It: the next Super Sprint