Race for the line in Classic Races, establish your best time in Time Trial, pass as many turbocharged toys as you can in Overtake, avoid getting wiped out by the tide in Escape.
You’ll also take on bosses in multi-round Elimination mode. Attention is exactly what Codemasters lavishes on Toybox Turbos, right down to details such as dusting off the original company logo for the backs of playing cards strewn across certain tracks. Xylophones tinkle as you use them for a bridge, jellies serve as impromptu trampolines and pop-up toasters propel you into the air. If you’re not too fussed about winning, you can even stop and read the amusing synopses written on the back of a series of children’s books called “The Tales of Watson Jr”.
Handling is appropriately chunky, with enough bounce to be fun, but enough traction that you don’t feel out of control. The different vehicles are grouped by class – Construction, for example, or Emergency Vehicles – and offer minor differences in speed, control and weight. Each grouping also includes one boss vehicle, that must be defeated in single player in order to be used.
That nostalgia is something probably best dealt with from the get-go. Toybox Turbos instantly feels familiar, from the charming visuals packed with quaint details, right through to the handling of the toy vehicles. For those who aren’t acquainted with the original racer, there has been a slew of Micro Machines-inspired titles such as copy cats and the brilliant Motorstorm RC, for example, that work on the original concept Codemaster’s , who is announcing new “Grid” title these days, built back in the day to great effect.
The game lets you choose from 35 colourful vehicles, like an ice cream truck, a taxi cab or a fire truck, which you race through one of 18 tracks. As you blaze over counter tops, past seemingly giant everyday objects, you can use boosts to get ahead, or use weapons like the giant hammer that will squash your competitors. You will be able to race in local multiplayer with up to four people or connect online with your long-distance mates.
As fun as the selection is, there’s not much point in choosing some of them. Within each group there’s one that hits the sweet spot between speed and handling, so you may as well stick with it unless you like losing. The tracks and race types certainly don’t offer enough variation that the decision to favour speed over handling, or vice versa, has any real tactical merit.
Toybox Turbos has all the bright colours, gold coins, power-ups and weapons to stir up those old arcade feelings once again.
This is a genre that has endured because of its party game multiplayer, but Toybox Turbo makes some odd choices in this regard. For one thing, the single player side of the game is far more varied, with a host of event types including classic races, time trials, overtaking events where you must speed past a set number of AI racers before the laps run out, races where you must stay ahead of an all-devouring blue light and countdown challenges where you must collect clocks to keep the timer from expiring. These rule sets don’t change the core gameplay drastically, but they do keep things from getting stale during the two hours or so it will take to blitz through them all and unlock everything.
- Date of Release: 11.november 2014. available on Steam now!