Eclipse Games are back with the follow up to their ambitious arcade racer, Super Toy Cars. Providing a solid blend of classics like Micro Machines and the fast-paced, power up fest of popular Kart Racers, Eclipse look like they are onto a winner with this pick up and play extravaganza loaded with content.
Pick up and play fun
Super Toy Cars 2 provides some fast-paced pickup and play fun with a tournament set across twelve cups. Within each cup you will compete in a series of races where the tracks have been creatively crafted from household rooms and items. From tearing it up in the back garden avoiding remnants of a barbeque like corn on the cobs and fizzy drinks causing obstructions and hot coals hitting the deck. Along the way you can grab some power-ups to give you the advantage, all the classics from boost, rockets and shields are present and accounted for as well as a few unique ones like firing an eight ball down the track or using a magnet to grab a bottle of ketchup of a doughnut to drop in front of your opponent.
Each race is themed and will feature items and obstructions to suit the setting whether you are racing around a restaurant, a child’s bedroom or a casino. This add’s a great level of variation to the racing locations and also allows a great colour palette to be shown from bright and colourful races to more moody darker tracks.
As you race, you earn some cold hard cash to spend on the games generous offering of twenty cars. Each car is as varied and stylish as the tracks they race around, from swanky cruisers, camper vans, family-friendly coupes and midlife crisis sports cars, there is an option for everyone. Each car has it’s own stats which can be improved by purchasing upgrades and liveries to tailor them to your own style. As with most campaigns, you start off with a choice of a few basic models but it won’t be long before you have enough dollar in the bank to start affording something a bit more flash.
Various race modes feature to keep things fresh and for the first portion of the game, it feels like you never have a chance to settle into one particular race type as they are all thrown at you one after another. Granted we all love a bit of variety to keep things interesting but I wish these had been rolled out at a bit of a slower pace to give me time to enjoy each type a bit more in the early going.
The race modes on offer are:
- Standard Race
- Clean Race (no power-ups)
- Death Race (if you get destroyed, the race is over)
- Elimination (the car in last place when the timer reaches zero is eliminated)
- Time Trial (a race against the clock)
- Destruction (destroy as many dummy cars as you can before the timer runs out)
- Destruction Derby (all-out vehicular warfare).
All these modes can be selected at will in the Quick Race menu where you can choose any vehicle without having to unlock them via the campaign. You can also play with a friend with two-player split-screen but it would have been nice if the Switch version would have featured up to four players or a full online mode given the overall party game feel of the title.
The new Mario Kart?
With a great offering of content it all comes down to how well it holds together during gameplay, and I can honestly say, it’s okay. Just Okay? In my personal experience yes, I wasn’t expecting the spit and polish of something like Mario Kart but when you are so used to playing a genre-defining title it is hard not to make certain comparisons. The controls, for example, took a bit of getting used to. I liked that each car had different stats as it gave a bit more depth to what could have been a fairly generic offering but I personally struggled with the steering and getting to grips with the drift. I’m not sure if it was just me being heavy-handed with my stubby Gollum fingers on the Joy-Con but the steering was extremely unbalanced.
The sweet spot of steering felt either too sharp or too soft with little room in the middle for controlled turning. The drifting too was overly sensitive for my taste though after longer sessions I did to grips with it and used it to power up some speed boosts with style. I understand the focus on having things a bit slapstick in what is essentially a game about toy cars but the fun that could have been had with a group of friends all dealing with the same quirks and having a chuckle was completely lost on the switch version.
The presentation overall was good.
Levels have a very varied colour pallet and design styles. Though the textures and backgrounds are a tad bland they by no means ruin anything once you get whizzing around the tracks against the opponents which have considerably challenging AI. The one area I had an issue with visually was the tournament selection screen. Each Tournament is selected through what can only be described as a Christmas decoration that is being viewed through a condom. I am not sure what the team are trying to present with this image but it just looked terrible to my eyes despite the description box to the side, was there even a point in bothering with this shiny triangular thing? I am not sure, it just looked really sloppy compared to the stylish art offerings found everywhere else.
Thankfully the gameplay was pretty decent throughout although there were some stuttering moments when a lot of power-ups were being activated at once. The audio was a nice surprise, the sound effects of the cars and powers were all fine but there was also a really decent soundtrack on offer featuring a range of original tracks that had vibes of Goldfinger and Zebrahead and wouldn’t sound out of place in an old school Tony Hawks game.
Super Toy Cars 2 is a step up from the original and contains a lot of content for such a modest price. The key issue I had was the controls felt too themed around party fun which is an element the Switch version couldn’t enjoy due to the lack of larger multiplayer options. Youngsters will likely have a blast with this one but for more seasoned players the fun won’t last long.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 12/06/2020
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Arcade, Racing
Developer: Eclipse Games
Publisher: Eclipse Games
Download link: eShop