Are you fan of toy cars? Hot Wheels? Micro Machines? Well, it seems like the people at IceTorch had this in mind when making Tiny Racer, a racing game that puts you behind the wheel of a tiny car as you drive around big world areas. It is a nice premise, but this game does have some worthy competition on the Nintendo Switch with games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Crash Team Racing Nitro, and Horizon Chase Turbo, just to name a few.
But are these cars and tracks worth your time and energy? Or is this a game that is better left where it was before you read this sentence: forgotten and unknown? Well, let’s find out!
I am just going to get this one out of the way: Tiny Racer is a bad game.
There. I said it. End of review.
All right. Fine. I will tell you why it is a bad game.
For starters, one of the first obstacles you will find is that the game does not allow for any controllers outside of the JoyCons. Pro Controller turns off immediately, any third party controller cannot even connect, and anything wired to the Switch dock itself is not even recognized. Not a good start, Tiny Racer.
It doesn’t help when you start playing the game and realize that there is no good reason for this, either. The controls are simple, and if they can be performed on a pair of JoyCons, then there is no excuse for the people at IceTorch to add support for other controllers, particularly the Pro Controller.
Upon entering the game, we are presented with a few options, namely Tournament, Arcade, Time Trial, and Multiplayer, which allows you and one other player to participate in Tournament or Arcade together in split-screen.
Tournament provides a lot of different races across the fifteen tracks, and the difficulty ranges from Rookie to Legendary, with a Tiny Racer option at the tail end for those looking for an extra headache. Arcade is basically a one-race option to try out any of the tracks you have unlocked, and Time Trial is exactly what it is.
Sure, there are a lot of options in Tiny Racer, but when the gameplay is a hot mess, it is nearly impossible to enjoy any of it. You see, for a racer of this caliber, it needs the following: tight controls, fair collision, and good recovery options. This game fails in every regard, and the races suffer because of it.
First of all, the cars are difficult to handle and will spin out on a dime. This is made even worse by the collision factor and how hitting other cars will cause all kinds of issues, including getting stuck in walls and flying off ledges. Finally, recovery is simply the worst. If you get stuck in a wall or fall off the side, the amount of time it takes to situate yourself will undoubtedly eliminate your ability to place in the race.
Another major issue is in the course designs. Many of the race tracks do a poor job of directing you correctly, and I often found myself turning the wrong way or launching myself off a ramp to nowhere because of this. Not only that, but the tracks are littered with stupid obstacles that exacerbate the poor handling and collision problems. If that isn’t enough, some of the turns and paths are so narrow that it is nearly impossible to hit them perfectly for each lap of the race without falling to your doom.
The cars and tracks themselves do look good, and I genuinely like the premise of Tiny Racer. It is just a shame that there are way too many problems that spoil the experience at the core and make it completely unenjoyable.
I don’t think I would have come down on Tiny Racer so much if it wasn’t for the combination of it all. Even the music is painful, and it honestly never lets up. Just about every area of the game affects the other, and it completely damages what little is there to enjoy.
It hurts me to come down so hard on an indie game like this, but releasing a title and charging people $9.99 for hot garbage is not right. Tiny Racer is a broken mess that frequently suffers from screen tearing and glitching on top of everything else. It really is unfortunate, because this should be a premise that works. Sadly, the team at IceTorch did not tune these cars up well, and this is a title you need to avoid at all costs.
Racing is problematic for a variety of reasons
Courses are beyond poorly designed
THE MUSIC IS TERRIBLE
Various glitches and technical problems
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.