Developed By: IceTorch Interactive
Published By: IceTorch Interactive
Category: Arcade Racer
Release Date: 07.31.20
It’s not often that you come across a game that does as little to distinguish itself as Tiny Racer for the Nintendo Switch. While I generally tend to enjoy spending a little bit of time with smaller, indie arcade racing games, Tiny Racer offers so little in the way of polish or even basic competency that it was difficult to find anything about which to be positive. And believe me, I looked; I have no interest in just dumping on a game for the sake of doing so. I know how much time, effort, and personal investment it takes to put a game together. That’s why it’s so disappointing when a game falls this flat in pretty much every area.
Tiny Racer features 8 cars and 15 different tracks. The cars are unlocked from the start and the tracks unlock as you complete tournaments, one of the game’s three single-player game modes. The other two are arcade – where you only race one track at a time – and time trial – which is pretty much the game’s practice mode where you can get familiar with the tracks without having to worry about other drivers. Tournaments consist of two to four races, depending on the chosen difficulty. But with only a few tracks to unlock and no extra cars, that leaves the game with not a whole lot of incentive to keep playing the single player mode. There are also two local multiplayer modes – arcade and tournament – that might have offered some replayability value, had it not been for the fact that basic gameplay isn’t even very fun or even consistent.
I said there are 8 different cars, but the difference between them is entirely aesthetic; no car is faster than another, or handles better, or anything like that. I guess that would be fine for a more casual racing game, but the game’s physics are so frustratingly inconsistent that nothing else about it really even matters. Bouncing into other cars, jumping over hills, or hitting the rails is a random experience. If you get hit in the side, will you bounce to the side, or forward, or be sent spinning? If you fall off the side of a hill, will you keep rolling or sliding when you hit the bottom, or come to a dead stop? Will a slight twitch on your thumbstick send you gently easing around a curve or into a big tailspin? There’s no consistency to it.
Sometimes, especially with indie games, a unique visual style can salvage an otherwise lackluster game, or at least give players something to latch onto. Tiny Racer isn’t the worst-looking game on the market, but it isn’t anything special, either. The 3D graphics are pretty much the bare minimum level of acceptable quality, and that’s the nicest thing I can say about them. The music is largely inoffensive, but fairly anonymous. It does little to add a sense of energy to the game, which is essential for any kind of action-oriented game.
I feel bad writing all of the things I just wrote. I don’t want the devs to feel like they’ve wasted their time or be discouraged from being creative, but there just isn’t anything about this game I can be positive about. Heck, the state of the game is so bad I couldn’t even play the game docked; when I put my Switch on the dock to try, it wouldn’t recognize inputs from either JoyCons, a Pro controller, or a wired PowerA controller I tried. I had to put the JoyCons back on the Switch and take it off the dock to play. If you’re looking for an indie arcade racer, try Horizon Chase Turbo. Tiny Racer isn’t worth your time.
Buy Tiny Racer
Digital – $9.99
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*A game code was provided for review purposes.