Super Toy Cars Review (Wii U eShop): “RC Pro Am Not”

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Remember the days when we were younger, with a room full of toys (unlike today’s era that strictly relies on iPods and iPads), getting creative and using our imagination? A majority of us would love to play with Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars and pretend to race them through an obstacle-filled room. Spanish indie developer Eclipse Games has taken an old-childhood pastime and crafted it into a frantic car-combat racing game. Is this title worth your time or should this stay locked up in the toy box?

Super Toy Cars provides players with a Career mode, consisting of 8 circuits (which are in the shape of a toy block) with 6 events in each. The events are all varied, between your standard Races, to Time Trials, Time Attack, Evade, and Elimination modes. This helps keep events fresh and prevents the career from becoming too repetitious. Throughout events, you will earn credits (based on the position you place) that can be used to either unlock better vehicles or even upgrade them. Upgrading will allow your vehicle to improve its top speed, acceleration, handling, weight, drifting and boost stats. There are 16 vehicles to choose from, ranging from cars that are all about speed to those that are pertained more towards drifting. The AI during the events can be quite challenging, making you work for earning 1st place in each event.

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When you’re not going solo, you can gather 3 of your buddies or family members to play some 4-player competitive multiplayer. You’ll be able to choose from any of the game’s 12 tracks across 4 environments or any of your custom created tracks (more on that below). Multiplayer works just like the single player, adding more fun into the mix knowing that you’re going up against people you know. In particular, it’s more of a highlight when playing your own tracks in multiplayer to show off your creativity skills and see how other people like the track. Also, all the vehicles are already unlocked for multiplayer, which is a nice feature so that no one is restricted to the car of their choice. The game is strictly a local multiplayer affair and has no online mode. Leaderboards are on their way via patch update but was not available at the time of this review.

When it comes to racing games, the Wii U has a plethora of options to use. Whether it be the Wiimote, Wii U Pro Controller or GamePad, you have options to choose from. However, the strangest omission for a racing game on the Wii U is the lack of any motion-steering. Not even the Wiimote has motion steering and oddly controls holding the remote vertically instead of horizontally. Also, steering in general feels wonky due to the physics. It’s a bit loose turning vehicles and they’ll get caught on an object far too easily. Thankfully the game auto-respawns you the moment that you get caught in an object, but it still becomes frustrating as to how easily and often this occurs. You can even drift in the game, but that rarely feels natural enough to rely on. Most of the time you’ll find yourself really slowing down to a halt or colliding into a wall unintentionally when drifting. On the track, you’ll be able to pick up items to use against opponents. These can range from lock-on missiles, to oil spills and mines, to even shooting an 8-ball to crush your opponents. The weapons are actually all quite useful and balanced well, without anything feeling overly powerful.

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One of the more appealing features in the game is the Track Editor mode. In this mode, you’ll be able to fully create a track to your liking. The default track always starts as an oval, and you’ll be able to use the GamePad screen with the stylus to move track points around, creating curves and zig-zags on the track. You can scale the track as well, making it wider or narrower depending on what you’re aiming for. Then you can litter your track with household objects and toys as obstacles or as walls along your track. You can even change the track background to be either the streets, a baby’s room or the kitchen. It’s a great feature to have in the game that will certainly add replay value. On the flip side, there are 3 main gripes with the track editor: lack of sharing tracks online, the text was incredibly tiny to read on the GamePad, and the lack of a tutorial. There’s not even any info on what the tools are in the game’s digital instruction manual. It will culminate to players just testing out what everything does.

Visually, Super Toy Cars is a fairly decent looking game. The environments are littered with household objects and toys that are nicely crafted, with some solid lighting effects as well. The backgrounds to the environments however look far less detailed and are quite blurry. The framerate is fairly stable throughout a majority of the experience, with only few instances of it dropping but nothing major or too noticeable. Although, the visuals can be buggy, with cars driving through objects instead of colliding with them at times. Also, when testing out a track in Track Editor mode, if you drive off the edge of the map, your vehicle will just free fall into the grey oblivion of nothingness. Another buggy scenario was when a car respawned on me, it resulted in my car launching high into the air doing flips. While that’s quite comical, that also resulted in losing an Elimination event. If you’re looking to use Off-TV play with the GamePad, I’m sorry to disappoint you but that won’t be an option at the moment. In single player, the GamePad screen shows the action happening on the TV, just without a HUD (except for the map) and zero audio. In multiplayer, the GamePad is strictly a black screen, displaying absolutely nothing. At the time of this review, the developers have stated they’re most likely adding that feature in the near future, so there’s still hope. Audio wise, the soundtrack is appropriate and accompanies the game pretty well. The car sound effects on the other hand are very mundane. They sound muffled and lifeless. There was even a few times where the game’s sound effects vanished mid-race and then reappeared again.

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Issues aside, Super Toy Cars is a fairly decent indie racing game on the Wii U but needed a bit more polish. What’s here is a somewhat enjoyable, yet flawed experience. There’s a good amount of content and the track editor is certainly a highlight, but the car physics are wonky and need some more fine-tuning (especially drifting). That being said, for $6.99, it’s not a bad game, but rather one that needed a little more time on the production line. If you’re in the mood for a car-combat racing game and have done everything there is to do in Mario Kart 8, or really want to get creative creating tracks to versus your friends on, give Super Toy Cars a shot. Just be prepared to deal with some cumbersome physics.

Overall Score: 6.0 out of 10 

A special thank you to Eclipse Games for providing us a review copy for Super Toy Cars! Review based on version 1.0.

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  • Michael Ocampo

    Good Review! As soon as I heard there were some bugs and crashes on Miiverse, I decided to wait on a review. Thanks for saving me $7! I might reconsider this game later on if they patch all the stuff but that’ll probably take some time…

    OFF-TOPIC: I saw the post on Miiverse stating there was a review and the existence of this site so, here I am! Haven’t been here long to make a better opinion but it seems kinda cool so far, if not a little barren… Waddup Gamers Xtreme peoples! 😛