Table Top Racing: World Tour - Nitro Edition Review — Racing On a Small Scale
Table Top Racing: World Tour - Nitro Edition is a fun racing title for the Nintendo Switch, but it stumbles as an undocked experience.
Table Top Racing: World Tour - Nitro Edition
Review copy provided by the publisher
Table Top Racing: World Tour – Nitro Edition brings racing to the table quite literally as players race past towering potted plants and giant cereal boxes. It has an aura of Micro Machines about it and features plenty of special race types and cars to unlock. However, for a game that launched originally on mobile, it doesn’t seem to make use of the Switch’s modern technologies.
Table Top Racing originally launched in 2013 for iOS and then later to Android and PS Vita. 2016 and 2017 was when the game was ported to PS4, Xbox One, and PC but under the revamped name Table Top Racing: World Tour. Impressively, it racked up over five million downloads across all the consoles. 2019 has come and it brings the game to Switch owners with the addition of having all previously launched content readily available.
The new launch keeps the name the same but adds Nitro Edition to the end, giving it a sense of speed! The fact you have all this content from previous updates and DLC at hand gives you a longer lifespan for the game. It just feels like Playrise Digital didn’t dare venture past their mobile origins when it comes to growing the game. The circuits are small, the AI feels too forgiving, the events don’t feel as adventurous as they could have been in terms of how tracks are laid out. Regardless, this doesn’t mean to say the game is bad.
Focusing on single-player, you’re able to unlock vehicles from three different tiers by using in-game coins. You’ll also be able to use coins to upgrade your cars speed, handling, and other attributes in the garage. Wheels that allow drifting and other perks can be unlocked, and there are several paint jobs to choose from. These coins can be earned by completing races in both Championships and Special Events so there are no microtransactions to worry about.
The circuits are short in length and don’t really feel that intimidating in terms of scale. I mean, it’s obvious you’re racing past giant household objects but I didn’t feel small. This was likely due to the perspective of racing behind the car as if you’re also a small person. There’s also the possibility of falling off the track at various sections, but the drop doesn’t feel as daunting as it’s probably meant to appear. Instead, if you fall off you’re rather quickly returned to the track so it’s nothing more than a minor hindrance.
As for the race types, Combat races are Table Top Racing: World Tour’s main focus allowing players to collect offensive and defensive power-ups throughout the race. Yes, in a similar fashion to say, Mario Kart or Crash Team Racing. Other races have you chasing a single car down in Pursuit, hitting the fastest lap in Hot Lap, getting the most points by drifting in Drift, and so on.
You can also race in Championship events, Special Event races, and multiplayer modes with split-screen capabilities. Championship events include a series of races you need to complete to unlock the finale and compete for a trophy. Special Events have requirements to be met before you can compete such as a specific car, specific wheels, etc. Multiplayer modes allow you to race against other players either online or offline.
While the races may not feel overly difficult to start, some races do become noticeably harder in terms of AI going against you which keeps the game challenging and tough. You’ll have to either come third, second, or first to progress to other races, but sometimes coming third doesn’t yield enough coins. As a result, you’ll find yourself returning to best yourself just to afford vehicle upgrades.
There are no fancy control systems such as gyroscope control or touch screen capabilities which keeps Table Top Racing: World Tour feeling rather limited to a console experience on Switch. This is not a bad thing of course, but it feels like a missed trick by not offering players a more intuitive undocked experience. The trouble comes with the default layout being set in stone with no option to rebind. Acceleration is done through either the A button or pushing the right analogue stick up, and gadgets are fired with the triggers. Ideally, I’d liked to have changed that.
The graphics feel inspired by classic titles, looking simple in quality which no doubt helps with performance. Small effects such as lens flares or shines on the paintwork do stand out and bring some shine to the game. The cars themselves look comical and miniature but explosions and effects aren’t as exciting as they could have been and look rather bare. There could have also been some more done to make the feeling of speed prominent, especially when you get to the top tiers of cars. Some field of view adjustments, motion blur, and perhaps camera shakes for example.
Table Top Racing: World Tour doesn’t let you adjust any controls as already mentioned, but it also has no options for colorblind modes. To add to that, the game feels heavily designed with the docked mode in mind as some of the menu elements and information boxes are incredibly hard to read when in handheld mode.
As for the audio, the cars don’t feel loud and powerful which is probably to be expected due to being tiny cars, but as the player is also shrunk down to the scale of the cars you’d expect more intense noises. I’m not sure how it’d work in the scientific scheme of things, but nonetheless, the sounds aren’t satisfying enough. Music is upbeat and helps substitute the feeling of speed where visuals fail to portray speed.
The number of Championships and Special Events is fantastic and opens up a lot of potential days of playing, and on top of that, the online multiplayer keeps things enjoyable should you lack IRL friends for couch gaming. The requirements for having to earn more coins for more upgrades and cars keep you gunning for more constantly. In addition, having to go back and get a better trophy in previous Championships before you can progress keeps the grind somewhat fun.
Despite not feeling overly small, and the sense of speed not being as present as I’d like until later on, Table Top Racing: World Tour – Nitro Edition is a fun experience that offers plenty of single-player options to progress through. With sixteen cars to unlock and upgrade, and over o180 events to keep you busy, it’s a great game that lets you enjoy simple racing.
It’s a huge shame that levels tend to repeat themselves occasionally and are rather short, but this is likely just a product of the game having its roots as a mobile title. Despite that, the simplicity keeps it friendly and does feel somewhat old school in terms of handling like in PS1 games like Wipeout, and Formula 1. If you’re into the good ol’ PlayStation racing titles such as these, then Table Top Racing: World Tour – Nitro Edition might be for you.