Micro Machines: World Series (PS4, Xbox One, PC)

As most little kids like to do, when I was young I enjoyed playing with toy cars.  The biggest contenders were Hot Wheels and Matchbox.  But later on, a new brand came on the scene called Micro Machines, which were a lot smaller than the others but proved to be just as popular.  By the time Micro Machines came out, I was a little too old to “play cars” but I still remember the commercials where that guy who talked really fast from the FedEx ads was on there.  Later on, they even had some top down racing video games based on the franchise.  I recall renting the first one on the NES and SNES, and later I remember even reviewing a 3-D version on the PlayStation for The Dallas Morning News back in college.  And now Micro Machines are back in a new multiplayer-centric game downloadable for PS4, Xbox One, and PC (PS4 version reviewed here).

The game’s modes are mostly centered around online and couch multiplayer, so if you don’t have a PS+ account or a bunch of gaming friends, this game won’t be as much fun for you.  You have a selection of cars to choose from (Monster Truck, Police Car, Fire Engine, etc.).  Each one has voices and a bit of personality, as well as their own specific weapons they use during arena matches.  You can play online or couch multiplayer with up to three other racers.  Online modes include timed challenges that last for a certain number of days, arena battles like Free-For-All and Deathmatch, and standard races.  You can also play these modes in local multiplayer as well.

Like other Micro Machines games, the tracks and arenas are based on locations from a smaller view.  You may race around a backyard pond, kid’s toy room, breakfast nook, or pool table.  Play control is also similar to other Micro Machines games, and reminds me of driving RC cars.  When you are driving downward, for instance, pressing left on the controller will make you go right, but it’s actually the car’s left, so it may take getting used to.  It’s quite similar to other top down racers like Super Sprint.  While racing, you can actually pick up weapons similar to Mario Kart.  I guess Hasbro must own the Micro Machines and NERF licenses now, because many of the weapons you get are based on NERF guns.  You’ll also race on other Hasbro game boxes like Hungry, Hungry Hippos!

I do like the nods to the classic Micro Machines games.  On the title screen I noticed a TV playing the original game in the background, and when you have computer controlled opponents, the icons that represent each one are based on the kid racers from the old games (Cherry, Dwayne, etc.).  Really the only problems I have with the game are the controls (but that’s really more of a personal preference than a problem), and the lack of single player modes.  You CAN play single player if you pick couch multiplayer mode and choose three computer players.  But with only ten race tracks and even fewer battle arenas, it can be a bit limiting plus the A.I. players are tough!  I don’t think it would’ve been too hard to make more single player options, but as it stands, this game is only fun with other people.

Kid Factor:

Micro Machines: World Series is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Cartoon Violence.  You can fire silly weapons like NERF guns at other toy cars.  They may shout when hit and explode, but they come back good as new so it’s not too bad.  Younger gamers may get frustrated at the difficulty and controls, and reading skill is helpful for the menus.  With all the multiplayer focused modes, the whole family can enjoy the game together.

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