Micro Machines – Like Puppy in my Pocket … for boys
Every boy who was around in the 80’s or 90’s will remember Micro Machines, those tiny heavily stylised toy vehicles that were cheap to buy but insanely expensive to collect. The toys were immensely popular and the were literally thousands to collect cars, trucks, planes, helicopters etc at the height of their popularity these little belters even out-sold the toy car giants hotwheels. Anyway getting to the point these toys eventually spawned a series of video games.
My main memory (aside from hours spent playing with the toys) was of a particular game on the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis for you American folk) Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournement a stupidly brilliant title which saw you racing across pool tables, bath tubs and desks through gardens and bedrooms just the types of places you would be playing with your toys. This kind of miniature racing game was never bested despite numerous attempts (Notably the Revolt games on Dreamcast) but now we have a new challenger.
Mini Motors available on Android and iOS from The Binary Mill provides a similar experience to the classic mini racers of the past albeit without quite the same imaginative settings. The tracks are based on your more classic racers with High speed race tracks and battles through winding city streets taking the spotlight rather than jumping over plant pots and trying not to drop into the vortex of a toilet or pool table pocket this may not seem at first glance to be quiet as much fun but the game actually handles really well.
There are options for controls but I prefer to stick with the default mode of having the little wheel down in the bottom left hand corner which you spin to the desired direction. It starts out a little challenging to get to grips with due to the games static viewpoint (something which will be familiar to those who have played Micro Machines V3) but you will soon get the hang of it and be drifting around the courses like a pro. Once you get the hang of the controls the difficulty jumps up a notch the AI racers become more skilled and highly aggressive luckily the game has an upgrade system which will allow you to ensure your tiny car has enough oomph to keep you ahead of the competition.
You can unlock a few cars just through playing but many others have to be purchased with in game cash, however since you are going to want to focus on upgrades rather than making rash purchases of cars the pricing seems a little off. In some respects I feel this is a bit of a cheap shot since it means that to fork out for the new car you are likely going to have to make some in app purchases, don’t fret however none of this is actually necessary because you can just repeat a few races to earn the dough, though that may take the patience some folk don’t have.
It may not be a groundbreaking title but it’s a neat little racer than uses the touch screen to it’s advantage rather than struggling with it, the tracks are well designed and fun to play (with the odd exception) with various surfaces on show (dirt, sand, tarmac, gravel etc) actually affecting the handling of your vehicle. The cars are well designed and each one does handle very differently which gives you ample opportunity to find and max out your favourite model. I appreciate it when a app dev puts out a game for a reasonable price (£0.69 in this case) and doesn’t over use the in-app purchase side of things which is far to often the case now, there is an extra championship on show here that rather than being a paid for dlc is actually purchasable with the money you earn from playing the game which is a real nice touch.
Perfect for playing a few quick races on your daily commute Mini Motors is a title that doesn’t take itself too seriously and rewards you for playing rather than being something you need to throw money at in order to progress. In short this is the type of game I would like to see more of on phones and tablets from a dev who clearly deserve to be taken seriously.