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Review: Micro Machines: World Series (Xbox One)

Racing
4

Poor

Micro Machines might not be a household name like LEGO, or Hot Wheels, but most of us will remember the tiny toy cars from our youth. Or you might remember the game series that started in the mid 90s, which was pretty unique and cool back in the day. So with that nostalgia, and lack of experience with the series, I was very excited to try out the newest iteration of the series, unfortunately, things didn’t quite pan out the way I had hoped.

Such a cool premise

The concept of Micro Machines: World Series is that you race around makeshift tracks with miniature toy cars in a top down perspective. It’s simple and it works. It takes a bit of getting used to to, but once you do, it’s fun and engaging, and it looks pretty decent. There are 12 little cars to choose from, which all handle the same, but offer something different depending on the mode you’re playing. The tracks are also fun and varied, ranging from kitchen counters to design tables to garden sheds. All of the tracks or levels are fun and unique.

There’s also a few modes, such as a plain old racing, elimination or battle mode. Racing mode has you racing against other Micro Machines. There are power-ups like bombs and guns that you can shoot your opponents with to slow them down. Elimination is a mode that if you fall too far behind, you are eliminated for the round. Points are awarded for overall standings of each round, and the first to reach a certain goal is the winner. Battle mode has a few extras added to it, such as a control mode, or capture the flag mode, which plays out on an open map. Each of these modes are exactly what it says it is.

So Micro Machines offers a bit of content, so technically it should be a decent game? Well, no. This game is bad, really bad. I started out having fun, but the smile was quickly wiped from my face as I realised what a load of crap I was playing.

It’s all about the execution

The biggest issue with this game is the way it was designed. First off, it’s made to be an online game, so every match or event should be online. But that is where the issues started.

There is no single player mode. So no career mode, no championship mode, nothing! Once you’re through the tutorials, it’s all supposed to be online. Only problem is, it isn’t. In all the races I participated in, I did not race against another person once. Everything was against AI. But, the game tricks you into thinking that it might be against online opponents. In normal Quick Play, you have a set time for matchmaking. This time is around about 80 seconds. So after about 80 seconds of waiting, when no online players are found, you are then matched with AI opponents. That’s 80 seconds of waiting to play against damn AI!

It might work differently if you happen to have an online match, but I wouldn’t know, since I wasn’t that lucky.

It gets even worse when you unlock Ranked Matches on level 10. Matchmaking then extends to 300 odd seconds, and guess what? Still no online opponents. So you then compete in Ranked Matches against AI, again. There’s also no continuity in gamplay. You’re booted straight back to the main menu every time after a race, which means you have to go through the waiting process again. It might work differently if you happen to have an online match, but I wouldn’t know, since I wasn’t that lucky.

The worst thing about this game however, is the music. The menu music to be more precise. It might seem catchy at first, but after listening to it for two hours straight while waiting for unsuccessful matchmaking, you’ll start questioning your sanity. It’s the same crap tune over and over and over and over and over again!

The screen I stared at for 80% of the time. Notice the matchmaking time in the top left corner… Yeah I woke up the next morning with that monotonous tone in my head. It drove me mad. And that is maybe the single biggest reason why I really didn’t enjoy this game.

Well, maybe I’m being a little harsh

So can menu music really be the reason you hate a game so much? Surely that’s a bit too harsh. Well no, no it is not. The fact that the game is so badly designed that I have to go back to the menu every damn time, and listen to that tune for a minimum of three minutes before I can play again is the problem. It’s almost as if the game is actively trying to not let me play it, which to be honest is fun to do. But I’m not allowed to do it, it would seem. Which is a real shame really. Playing the game is fun and it looks good, but the fact that you have to work so hard to get to it is just not worth it. Everything about the game seems rushed and shallow.

Playing the game is fun and it looks good, but the fact that you have to work so hard to get to it is just not worth it. Everything about the game seems rushed and shallow.

The design of Micro Machines: World Series deeply flawed. It gives you no reason to keep playing, and the fact that you have to return to the main menu with it’s horrible music after doing anything doesn’t help. I’ve actually never seen a game that actively tries to prevent you from playing it. It might be improved with a few patches and updates, but for the time being I find it very hard to recommend any one from picking it up. Especially if you’re a fan of the series, since it might just ruin the love you have for it.

Good

  • Looks nice
  • Fun, when you get to actually play

Bad

  • Matchmaking doesn't work
  • Long waiting times between gameplay
  • Same repetitive menu music over and over again
  • Limited modes
  • Did I mention the repetitive menu music?

Summary

World Series needs to fix its matchmaking, or give you singleplayer modes if it wants to be taken seriously.
4

Poor

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