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Super Toy Cars 2 – This game contains micro machines

Developed and published by Eclipse Games, Super Toy Cars 2 is a racing game in a similar vein to Micro Machines. You literally play as toy cars in their actual size and race around courses filled with household items. With a variety of car types, race types and environments, Super Toy Cars 2 has something for all fans of arcade racing games. For a game based around toy cars on oversized picnic and kitchen areas, the music is very mature. It has tracks by alternative bands which you would usually find on sports games. I’m not complaining though, as it’s a delightful change from the usual repetitive beats that accompany racing games. The cars also look very polished for toys – you would be a proud owner of these in real life – which is a credit to the graphics.

The controls are pretty simple and very similar to other racing games. There are a few hit and misses with the gameplay though. The speed and steering feel quite robust and easy to get to grips with, but the drifting only seems to work with some of the cars, so I didn’t tend to use it much. The walls and on track objects are very unforgiving in that they really knock your car about, or they break it down. It seems that this was deliberate as they added in a respawn button; if you get stuck on a wall, crash your car or get stuck in the wrong direction you can hold the respawn button to get placed back on the track in the right direction.

There is a big issue with the power-ups, in that they feel under developed. The in-game help doesn’t tell you what each of the power-ups is or what they do. You have the obvious boost of speed and the rocket that hits the target in front, but you also have a magnet which seems to draw a random object on the track to you and you can either drop it behind you or throw it ahead of you, but I have never seen it work. There is also what seems to be a springboard power-up which you drop and, I assume, it affects those behind you, but once again I have never hit one myself or seen it work in any way. The only other power-up I remember is the big giant ball that you can only throw in a straight line in the way you are facing which crushed any enemies it hits. A cancel button to dismiss a power-up or allow the next power-up block you hit to replace the one you currently have would have been a nice inclusion. I found I got stuck with the magnet a lot of the time so I had to keep pressing power-up button to hope to grab something, just so I could get rid of it and get something better.

There are 3 game modes on offer; a quick race mode where you can play with a local friend and try out many of the different game modes, online race where you can only play online friends with a copy of the game in either a normal race with power-ups or a clean race without power-ups, and finally a career mode where you challenge for 12 different cups using different car types. Each Cup usually has 4 different races or battles which you have to finish in a high position to earn money. This money can then be used to buy cars which will unlock other Cups to race for. The money can also be used to buy upgrades for your cars to give you an edge to try and win the Cup.

I cannot fault this game for its variety in race/battle types and its variety in car types. There is plenty to choose from to keep the game fresh. There are 7 different race/battle types Normal Race, Clean Race (no power-ups), Death Race (once you are blown up it’s the end of your race), Elimination (every few seconds the person in last is removed from the race until there is a winner), Time Trial, Destruction ( a time limit race where you race as long as you can but you gain time by destroying the dummy cars on the track) and Demolition Derby (destroy as many of your opponents as possible).  The different car types you can have are Whacky Cars like VW beetles or trucks, Muscle cars, Gran Turismo cars, Supercars and open-wheelers like F1 cars.

I am not a fan of serious racing sims, luckily this is far from that. But it’s not solely a Micro Machines/Mario Kart clone either. It’s found its niche somewhere in the middle and it’s quite enjoyable to play. With a variety of power-ups and cars, there is plenty of fun to be had. I feel this game would have benefited if it opened up online play other players other than just friends.

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