Little Racers STREET

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Little Racers STREET review
Christopher Coke

Review

Micro Machines for the PC gamer

The First Race


With that out of the way, the real game can begin. Races take place in a number of different locations but most are on the neon-lit streets from which the game takes its name. At first, I felt sloppy on the road. I was slamming into walls and bunching up with other racers, but, before long, I got the hang of it. Even after several dozen races, however, the feeling of utter looseness never disappeared. A slight touch of the controls and your car will go careening across the track. It is a masterable system, and there is skill to propelling yourself along the game's twisting roadways, but cars still felt overly lightweight and just a tad overtuned.

Which is a little odd since the beginner class also felt a bit slow. Once you got out in front, it was easy to stay there with each straightaway pushing you a little further into the lead. Thankfully, things ramp up quickly and by the time you have moved from class E to D, races carry a real sense of velocity which makes mastering those controls all the more important.

A Mass of Quibbles


When I say that Little Racers: Street is a good game, I mean it, but playing it was a mass of small quibbles that reminded me of its bite-sized asking price. Take curbs for example. Tracks in Little Racers are very clearly defined but they are also often bordered by curbs. Cutting a corner is tantamount to hitting a brick wall, which is a common occurrence when the speed starts to ramp up. It feels unnatural for a car to crack so heartily into a curb that it would realistically ride over with no problem.

Another issue is the other racers. The AI of Little Racers just isn't that great. It can be challenging, without a doubt, but it is purely a mechanical challenge. Their cars are better upgraded than yours and so handle the twists and turns of the city far better. Once you are on par, however, finding the track they follow along the course is pitifully easy and they very rarely make sweeping movements to pass. Usually, they will clamber up behind you, bump you with a sway to and fro, and blare on the horn. Little Racers is a climb to the top upgrade level of your class and then against the top one or two opponents who actually pose a threat.

Finally, I would be remiss for not mentioning the weather system. Little Racers features dynamic pre-loaded weather. Meaning, here, that sometimes your course will be rainy or snowy. The graphics in the game are nothing to write home about (so many sharp edged polygons) but the reflections on the wet streets are a nice touch. The real life impact of these weather systems comes down to traction. There will be less of it. I actually found it more fun to race on wet streets than dry because of the extended drift, but it would have been nice to see just a little more investment into these bullet-point features.

The Final Call


Little Racers: Street is a game I could see myself coming back to. I have taken issue with a lot of its quibbles but here is the fact of it: Little Racers: Street is a faithful recreation of the classic top-down racer with a lot of modern twists. Races are short and curbs are a little too hard but it sure is fun racing through its neon city streets, punching that nitrous both to hold a lead and to come back from a poorly timed turn. And, quite frankly, for the grown-up far too old for Micro Machines, Little Racers is a fine alternative.

7.0

fun score

Pros

Faithful recreation of the top-down racer, lots of races, good challenge

Cons

Controls feel a little loose and races are a bit too short, lightweight gaming