Thursday, 06 July 2017 21:44

REVIEW: Micro Machines World Series (Xbox One)

Written by Staceface_Mayhem
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I’m iffy. Iffy in the way I feel about toys being turned into games. I was pessimistic back when LEGO first came out but that was a huge success, but in general it is a hit or miss genre for me. Micro Machines were miniature toy cars and playsets created in the 70’s and have stood the tests of time in the toy world. So how did ‘Micro Machines World Series’ developed by Codemasters, stack up as a video game? Was it a toy triumph or a toy travesty?

Right out the front gate, Micro Machines World Series sucks you in with its bright and vibrant colours, very reminiscent of the 80/90’s era, the height of their popularity. Instantly memories of playing with these pint-sized vehicles in the school yard, came flooding back. Each vehicle is like a character themselves, with their own quirks and uniqueness. Each is decked out with different move sets, skins, voices and gloats. Whether it is the Ambulance with its healing effects, the James Bond like car with the stealthy spy abilities or the Tank born to just muff crap up and blow others sky high, each vehicle definitely has a personality suited to your gameplay.

2017 07 06 00043
It all has a very micro transaction-y feel, without any actual micro transactions... yet. We shall see. Some of the customisation-able elements are earnt in loot boxes from levelling up, the others can be bought using in game currency from ‘the grind’. Levelling up can only occur during online play. There is also local play against your friends or the AI. The AI is actually really challenging, so it is upsetting there is not even the slightest pay off levelling wise when you beat these foes. If they are that hard to beat, don’t you deserve a reward when you do?

This comes to my major gripe with Micro Machines World Series... the actual racing. Sure I expected the top down racing to be slightly clunky as if it was a real toy car, but the actual steering is ridiculous and very hard to master. It took days of gameplay before myself and my colleagues got even close to being average. The controls can be modified to other buttons but it didn’t really help and inverting is non-existent. Despite being customisable vehicles each one drove like a shopping trolley, requiring yanking of the thumb stick and fluttering of the accelerator around corners. I was frustrated as an adult, so I could only wonder how a child would find this game, which I suppose would be the main buyers of such a title.

2017 07 06 00044
Micro Machines World Series is lacking the one thing we all crave... A good single player. Online just doesn’t cut it unless it is the cream of the crop, and has the goods to back it up, unfortunately for Codemasters this game does not.

Online play is split into 3 events, battle, elimination and just straight up racing, and where I’d expect you to spend most of your time. Ranked Play is locked till level 10, Special Events locked away for another time in the future and as stated earlier you can play with AI or locally. Elimination is a tedious race to see who can push players off screen the most. Battle is set in an arena and pits you in teams or in a free for all to be the last standing or by capturing flags. Using your abilities to destroy, blow up and disable each other is the key, however at times are poorly controlled or executed by the developers, so pick a mode of transport wisely.

As bland as it sounds, sometimes simplicity is key, and I found something as uncomplicated as the competitive single races the most fun of them all. Each event includes power ups with Nerf branded weapons along the courses, that are neither interesting nor very effective in changing the outcome of the races or battles. Luckily, bots will fill in those gaping holes when only a few online players are present.

2017 07 06 00042
The environments around the tracks are a thing of beauty and at least a saving grace for this racer. Each is exploding with comical, rendered art style, with the detail causing distraction for myself often from the race at hand. There is clear attention to detail on this one, with Hungry Hippos game boards, gardens and even kitchens thriving with life. The terrain is also littered with obstacles and hazards, with honey actually sticking your car to the course, milk sending you skidding across the ground, cracks in ice get bigger the more you cross them till you finally fall in or even batteries jolting cars into shocking place. These little details are greatly appreciated. The only criticism I have of the actual courses is that there is way and I mean way too many areas you can fall off the map, I get it you like us falling to our fiery deaths, but come on with the driving controls it got annoying real fast.

Overall, there is just nothing memorable about this game, nothing that exciting. Poor controls and AI make you lose interest quickly, lack on any real single player doesn’t make me want to go back as levelling for loot online is just a grind, when you can find enough players. It is a shame because nostalgia will bring people to play, but will it be enough to make them to stick around?

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 2.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PS4, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: Codemasters, Just Add Water
  • Publisher: Codemasters
  • Genre: Multiplayer, Racing