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4 Apr 2021

REVIEW: Tinker Racers - Xbox One

Review by Jon Donnis
If you grew up in the 1990s, there is a good chance you played a top-down racing game called Micro Machines. And when you load up and start playing Tinker Racers for the first time, that is exactly what will come to mind. But Tinker Racers is much more than just a MM clone. It has its own personality. 

The general idea of the game is that you are in control of a Mini RC racer. And you are racing around in your house. On top of kitchen tables, in the office, on the floor etc. The track itself might be drawn with chalk, or ketchup, it doesn't really matter how, just that you can. The view is top down as previously mentioned, although that view itself is not set, and you will automatically zoom in and out somewhat depending on your location to other racers.

The main campaign mode of the game is not necessarily about reaching the finish line after a set number of laps, instead it is more of a Survival game, similar in a way to the elimination modes you encounter on other racing games. You need to stay within the same screen as whoever is in first place, if you are in first place, then you need to get far enough ahead of the competitors so that they get eliminated. When you are the last person on the screen, you win the round, as the levels progress things get more and more chaotic, making everything all the more difficult.

The other thing you need to worry about is your damage level, each car starts off with 100%, if you get to 0% then it is over for you. So, if you fly off a table, you will regenerate but you will have lost 20% points. If you hit various obstacles, you will also be damaged, so there are quite a few things to keep an eye out for. Hitting some bursting popcorn may not cause you much damaged, but having a beach ball land on your head will.

Each area has a set amount of levels, beat those levels and you will move to the next room. There is even a dark mode you can unlock, whereby the lights in the room are turned off, and you just have the tiny headlights on the car to see. That mode is tough and does give a whole new challenge.

It is all pretty much straight forward, there is a very good learning curve, and the controls are exactly how they should be, this is one of my bug bears with games like this that on some games you push a direction on the controller and that is the way the car goes, I HATE THAT! Luckily on Tinker Races it has the classic control method of pushing left and right on the joystick and that controls which way the car goes, just as if you were controlling the car with a real RC Car Remote, I am much more used to that method, and in my opinion that is the correct method.

There are multiplayer modes with split screen, but since we are on lockdown, I am unable to test this properly. But having a quick look it does seem fine.

Other than the campaign mode, there are a few other modes.

"Free For All" is purely about racing without worrying about any scores, or damage. Just race against your friends for fun.

"Single Race" is your classic 5 lap race, and whoever is in first place wins. You can choose to play any of the levels that you have unlocked through the Campaign mode. It is good that they put this mode in there, despite the main part of the game trying the different "survival" style of play.

"Time Trial" Do I need to explain this? I will say that there is a challenge element to the Time Trial as you will have a "Developer Score" to try to beat. This is a touch time, that if you can beat it, you are awarded more points to your overall game score. Very much need if you want to unlock those all-important Achievements!

The Good
Clean, simple graphics, fun addictive gameplay, easy to just pick up and play. 

The Bad
The music as you play is catchy but I'd like to see more choice in there. And the general game sound effects are not the best, you might find yourself turning down the volume and just listening to music when you play instead.

This is a fun game. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and I will keep playing it. Tinker Racer succeeds where many similar racers have failed.

Review By Jon Donnis

Available now on Xbox One

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