Developer: QUByte Interactive
Publisher: QUByte Interactive
Genre(s): Racing, Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 25/03/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
I’ve got very fond memories of the Micro Machines series, so Tinker Racers REALLY caught my eye. Table-top racing in tracks made up of household goods? Check. Survival-based mechanics where you’ve got to stay ahead of the pack to score? Check. Addictive gameplay that’ll keep you hooked in? Double-check. Tinker Racers really ticks all of the boxes that fans of the series would expect, even IF the production values and lack of content do fall a bit short.
Simple and Accessible Gameplay
Tinker Racers’ setup is straightforward, with players racing against a bunch of rival drivers across a variety of zany tracks based upon the different rooms of a household. You could be in the bedroom, a kitchen, an office… you get the picture. Much like the game that inspired it though, Tinker Racers doesn’t feature conventional racing. Instead, it’s all about point scoring, with the screen focusing on the driver in first place and eliminating all of those who don’t manage to keep up. Find yourself the sole survivor? You’ll score a point, with the other racers then respawning and going again. Score five points and you’ll win the race… simple.
Controlling your car is also simple, with Tinker Racers utilising an easy control scheme. ‘A’ is used to accelerate, ‘B’ will bring you to a halt (or reverse if you get stuck), whilst the left stick handles steering. The old-school setup means drifting across corners is easily performed, so there’s not much need for the brake button. You do have to watch out for hazards on the track though (you’re racing across a messy house, what else do you expect?) whilst there are often deadly pitfalls surrounding you too. If you get caught out by them, you’re VERY likely to gift your opponent a point…
Old-School Micro Racing
The core experience of Tinker Racers comes with its campaign, which sees players speeding across eighteen different tracks in competitive action. There’s not a whole lot to it really, but It’s fun and unlocking new tracks will keep players invested. There’s also a separate Time Attack mode for those who want to try and get the best lap time, a Single Race mode for those who just want a quick spin-around, and a Free For All mode for those who want to test out the tracks stress-free.
I found the racing of Tinker Racers really addictive and fun. Despite the game’s simplicity, there’s something so satisfying about speeding across the kooky track layouts, whilst jostling with rival racers to keep ahead of the pack brought some excitement too. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a hard game (and the AI of your rivals could be very sketchy), but it’s still entertaining. You do have the option to race in ‘Dark Mode’ for an additional challenge, with the headlight-lit racing also adding some extra style to each showdown.
I just wish there was a little bit more to Tinker Racers. It didn’t take long to get through the campaign, whilst there’s nothing to unlock afterwards. Your car remains the same too, with no variations or customisation options in place. It felt like a big omission that saw the game lacking personality, especially when compared to Micro Machines’ eccentric roster of characters. The tracks are plentiful but, with just three environments to race across, it lacked the variety seen in other racers.
Who Needs Wi-Fi When You’ve Got Split-Screen?
There is multiplayer on offer, but it’s limited to local play only. I had a few fun races with my partner, so I can’t complain about that too much. In fact, it’s hard to complain about most of Tinker Racers’ shortcomings really, especially since it costs less than three quid to purchase. For that price, it offered more than enough fun for me, with the racing itself proving genuinely enjoyable. You just shouldn’t expect to get TOO many hours of gameplay out of it.
Presentation-wise, Tinker Racers looks decent enough. The car models and the environment aren’t exactly full of detail, but they do enough to capture the old-school homey vibe that Tinker Racers is going for. However, the performance could be a bit hit-and-miss. Whilst it’s competent for the most part, I did notice the frame rate stutter during races with four other drivers. It was never game-breaking, but the hitches were certainly noticeable.
Tinker Racers is an enjoyable racer that’s only really let down by a lack of content and customisation. Still, it’s hard to complain too much given its budget price, whilst it will certainly stir plenty of fond memories for those who spent hours playing Micro Machines in their younger years. Some performance issues do crop up here and there, but it’s otherwise an easy title to recommend for those who want some entertaining old-school racing action.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can purchase Tinker Racers for £2.29 on the Nintendo eShop
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.