It's a pocket rocket. Eh? Eh?
Remember Micro Machines? This is pretty much what that game would look like if it were released today. On PS Vita. Table Top Racing has already been released on phones, but its making the leap to Vita soon. It fits the handheld very well, echoing Motorstorm RC with its compulsive, 'must-get-all-the-stars' structure.
The default camera is the customary chase view, which stays directly behind your vehicle as you race through breakfast and office items, which tower over you. But you can also change the viewpoint to a micro Machines V3-style isometric-angled camera. The action is 3D, but you wont be able to see upcoming corners as easily, so a knowledge of the track is pretty essential if you want to use that one seriously.
The game's developer, Playrise, is headed by WipEout's lead designer, Nick Burcombe. While the action isnt as immediately spectacular WipEout, they share some sensibilities, with weapon pick-ups on the track and EMP blasts, rockets and speed-up boosts all available to help you get ahead.
Single-player sees you earning money to upgrade your vehicle and unlock new cars as you go. Events are not restricted to straight races, with Time Attack laps and cat/mouse games to play too. You can earn up to three stars in every event, which you can exchange for vehicle upgrades and new cars. The game is still being balanced, so while its quite easy to bag all three stars at present, that may not be the case for the final game.
Multiplayer is restricted to real opponents only (so no bots) but is lag-free in local link-up play, which I tried. Table Top Racing is undoubtedly better with four players scrapping for the win, but it's still perfectly enjoyable in two-player (even if it does feel a bit lonely with just the two of you competing). In all, this is a neat little racer and should go some way to filling the eternal Micro Machines-shaped hole in our lives when it hits Vita this summer.
Click on through for more screens and information.
Electricity blasts slow racers in the immediate vicinity
You start off in larger, cumbersome vehicles, but soon unlock real racers
The over-sized environments look lovely on the OLED screen
Obviously, coming anywhere other than first is total failure
The special effects aren't spectacular, but look slick all the same
Upgrades can't be chosen, instead unlocking in sequence as you spend cash
The game is currently free-to-play with microtransactions on iOS
...but the Vita version will be a one-off purchase only
Driving towards the screen can happen with the alternative camera
The early races I played didn't feature moving hazards
The car handling has just the right amount of drift to be challenging
The racing is often close like this
Shortcuts can be taken, but they carry a much greater risk
What's in the crates? WEAPONS! Get on it