GGUK get some hands on with Codemasters’ upcoming tabletop racer.
Gamers of a certain age will have fond memories of Micro Machines, the tabletop racing game from Codemasters which was based on an already popular line of toys. There were a series of Micro Machines games released between 1991 and 2006 on most of the popular platforms, providing some epic races between friends around household tracks. Despite the fact that some Micro Machines games were not well received, they all managed to be great multiplayer fun with truly imaginative track design.
But the last Micro Machines game was back in 2006, so surely it is time for a return? Well, Codemasters obviously thought so, as they recently announced Toybox turbos, which is coming to Steam on November 18th and to the Xbox360 and PS3 “soon”. Okay, so it is not titled “Micro Machines”, but for all intents and purposes, Toybox Turbos is Micro Machines V5.
What can new players who never experienced the joy of Micro Machines expect? Well, racing little toy vehicles around imaginative tracks based around the house from a top down perspective. Think MotorStorm RC, but smaller and cuter.
GGUK have had the chance to get nostalgic and enjoy some hands on time with Toybox Turbos on Steam.
For my limited preview of Toybox Turbos on Steam, I was able to enjoy a few different tracks in the Public transport Tear-Up championship. Controlling a Taxi, which was nippier than any Taxi I have ever known, I found myself competing with other public service vehicles in Classic races, where finishing first is the objective, Overtake, in which the player has to race past as many slow moving opponents as possible, and Time Trials, where beating the time is important. The final race of the championship, which I was unable to play in the preview version of the game, was an Elimination which would have unlocked the Hovercraft for use.
Players can earn money as they race, which can then be used to unlock further vehicles from a variety of different categories, such as Emergency, Race Cars, Construction and Off Road. There are 35 different vehicles to collect, all represented in the game with gloriously colourful cartoon-like visuals. The vehicles all have different ratings for Speed, Handling and Weight, making for different experiences. Players will even be able to customise the colour schemes on their vehicles to give them a more individual look.
The tracks that I played were all based around the Kitchen. I found myself racing around the sink, dodging the gas burners on the cooker or avoiding toast on the breakfast table. Each of the tracks had things going on and hazards to avoid, and all were entertaining to compete on. Visually, the cartoon style of the game worked well with the setting, the game was bright and colourful, and there was certainly plenty to look at.
The handling itself was simple with just the direction buttons and the space bar used to activate whatever item the player has equipped. Whilst racing, the player will drive over presents that will give them useful items such as hammers for crushing the driver in front, or a tommy gun for taking pot shots at the leader.
Besides the single player championships, there is also both local and online multiplayer to enjoy. Whilst the online mode was unavailable at the time, I did get to try out the local game with AI racers. There are plenty of options regarding setting the race up, including choosing what category or vehicles can be used and which track to race on. It is then a race to keep up with the pack, as the last one on the screen gets the most points and the race continues until maximum points are reached. The stop/start nature of these races does break up the fun a little, but veteran Micro Machine fans will remember how this works.
I went into Toybox Turbos not feeling particularly bothered about the game. I don’t know if it was just a euphoric sense of nostalgia, or if there was a gaping hole in my gaming habit, but I came away from the game wanting more. It may be simple, but with some 18 tracks, 35 vehicles and a great sense of competitive fun, I look forward to the launch of Toybox Turbos both for Steam on November 18th (priced at £11.99) and Xbox360/PS3 soon.