Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: May 18, 2017
Table Top Racing: World Tour is a car combat racing game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Table Top Racing: World Tour has an excellent pedigree as Nick Burcombe; the head of the Liverpool based indie developer Playrise Digital launched his career as part of the development team working on the original and iconic WipEout on PlayStation which brings much needed experience to take the series onto another level of quality. Table Top Racing: World Tour is the sequel to Table Top Racing which launched for Vita on August 5th 2014, but can World Tour build upon the concept and the foundations set by the incredibly entertaining Vita game?
There are two game modes including championships and special events. There are two championships contained within each of the three separate classes including Cult Classics for amateur racers, Street Racers for pro racers and Supercars for expert racers. Every championship has more events to compete in and more stars to earn than the previous championship with new events being progressively unlocked by achieving podium positions in each event until the finale of the championship has been unlocked before unlocking the subsequent championship by finishing on the podium in the finale. The opening championship called the Spark-Plug Trophy comprises of seven events with a total of 18 stars to earn prior to unlocking the Spark-Plug Trophy Finale, while Twin Cam Challenge encompasses eight events and a total of 24 stars to earn before heading into the finale. The opening championship of the Street Racers and Supercars classes will remain locked until a podium finish has been achieved in the second championship within the previous class. Each of the championships contain multiple events in their respective finale championship deciding event which concludes with a podium in which the cars that have not made the podium are thrown into a skip and the top three cars are proudly paraded on the podium during a fireworks display; complimented by a listing of the final championship standings before being rewarded with prize money.
Special events are spread throughout three classes in the same manner as the championships, while consisting of a variety of events covering the entire spectrum of event types that are unlockable all the way from requiring a particular vehicle or type of wheels for entry and needing to have attained a certain level anywhere from already being unlocked through to level 18.
There are 7 event types that provide a tremendous variety of gameplay with some events having their own stipulations regarding the availability of specific power-ups and weapons between car combat in which usually 6 to 8 competitors can fire weapons at each other, while pure racing offers an alternative to car combat without the weaponry in a test of driving ability and elimination is essentially a car combat race with the car in last place being removed after each lap. Time trial provides a period of time in which you must complete a certain number of laps, while hot lap challenges the player to set a faster lap time than the single lap record within the span of just 90 seconds; pursuit is rather reminiscent of a game of tag in the sense that it involves the player chasing after another car to hit it and drift events task the player to earn as many points from performing accurate and lengthy drifts around corners.
The player is initially awarded with 13,500 in gold coins with gold coins acting as in-game currency in order to purchase your first car in which only a Bug Rat and Leviathan for 12,250 or 12,850 gold coins respectively. You can earn coins by finishing the race as high as possible, completing a time trial as quickly as possible or scoring as many drift points as possible in a drift event which is really important as the coins are used to purchase upgrades such as better cars, tyres and car upgrades to improve a certain element of performance such as an increased top speed, acceleration, handling or armour with the upgrades costing more coins as you progress up the ladder of available car upgrades with the first tier of upgrades costing 1,000 gold coins for the opening cars. Upgrades will be required to win particular races as you progress further through each type of event; for instance upgrading top speed and acceleration to improve finishing positions in every race and time related mode, while upgrading handling would have the same purpose in racing and time trials, but also helps in drift events and upgrading armour will certainly improve your chances of winning a car combat race due to making your car capable of coping with more attacks from opposing cars.
You begin with standard wheels, but instead of purchasing wheels to improve handling; weapon wheels are introduced as an interesting new feature. Weapon wheels provide unique features for your car such as jumping, attacking or defending with some offering permanent advantages, while others are required to be fired and recharged before using them again. Every weapon wheel also has a disadvantage such as reducing acceleration or not being able to defend against a certain weapon, therefore making the decision on which weapon wheel to purchase more about your preferred driving style and strategy instead of an instant upgrade.
XP has to be earned to level up in order to unlock new events in special events which is achievable by finishing the race as high up the field as possible or by hitting A.I. controlled opposing cars with a weapon, therefore meaning that you could finish a race in last position, but still earn XP from having hit a car with a weapon you have locked on or carefully positioning a hazard on the track surface.
The track design is rather varied as there are five environments with four separate track configurations referred to as routes making for a total of twenty unique tracks such as racing through the buffets at a YO! Sushi restaurant, a chop shop, an entire track dedicated to 1980s toys and more besides. Every track genuinely encourages exploration throughout each route brought about by the inclusion of shortcuts and collecting hidden bronze, silver and gold coins that provide bonus gold coins. Physics oriented objects such as soda cans, bread, spark plugs, pool balls and more besides are positioned around the tracks that are essentially the Table Top Racing equivalent of banana skins as they can potentially impede your progress with such scenarios as an opposing car hitting the object and it falling directly into your path.
The car design is just as varied as the track design; comprising of three car categories starting out with Cult Classics, progressing onto Street Racers and Supercars with each step up in category showcasing a noticeable improvement in their respective maximum capabilities. Every category contains four cars to purchase with aesthetics reminiscent of a kart racing equivalent to known brand cars ranging from an American muscle car named Brawler, while Rally’s Cool 72 is a striking resemblance to the 1972 Ford Escort Mk1 rally car, Tokyo Aero is every bit the Subaru rally car, Fauxrari is an amazing representation of a Ferrari, McHandful P16 is a beautiful McLaren sports car and Zomg-A is a stunning Pagani Zonda supercar.
There is a rather exciting sense of speed, especially after upgrading your car in order to significantly increase such attributes as a faster top speed and faster acceleration through the gears, while counter-balancing that with improved handling through the corners and stronger armour to prevent opposing drivers from slowing your acceleration with a well placed power-up.
Car combat plays an integral part in Table Top Racing: World Tour’s gameplay with a variety of power-ups including everything from temporary speed boosts to an entire range of weaponry such as a block of ice to encapsulate opposing cars within and making them skid along the track in the process, a missile that can be fired in a general forward facing direction, rockets with a lock-on mechanism and an E.M.P. that sends a blast of electricity within the surrounding radius of your car to temporarily slow your opponents down or stop them from overtaking your car. However, after finishing on the podium on the second championship within the Cult Classics class; you earn the ability of gaining enhanced power-ups by collecting two power-ups. Enhanced power-ups strengthen the ability of each power-up from a faster speed boost to a wider block of ice, a wider radius for the E.M.P. and even rockets receiving a simultaneous lock-on for three cars instead of a single car. Beyond placing a mine or spilling acid along the track to severely reduce the grip for your opponents; you cannot fire weapons backwards, therefore a weapon wheel specifically providing the ability to do so or the general capability for every weapon to be able to be fired backwards would certainly elevate the car combat gameplay to the next level.
There are three camera angles with the first providing the closest view from behind the car, while the second viewpoint is from a little further back and the third camera angle is perfect for the players that prefer to not have the camera angle too close to the car. Unfortunately, a top down view that was present in Table Top Racing on Vita is absent from World Tour which is a shame as it provided an ideal throwback for any fans of such top down racers as Micro Machines and MotorStorm RC as the camera was zoomed all the way out as though the action was being viewed from a helicopter. World Tour is also still lacking a first-person camera which could have been mounted to the bonnet of the car with an additional first-person perspective from the eyes of the driver within the cockpit and another viewpoint positioned at the front of the car looking ahead without showing any of the car.
Table Top Racing: World Tour has two downloadable content packs including Supercharger Pack for £3.29 and Tropical Ice Pack for £3.99. Supercharger Pack includes four new cars such as the Scooper based upon the Mini Cooper Turbo and Baguetti Carb Injection inspired by the Bugatti Veyron, alongside a new track called Can Ya Dig It situated in an abandoned archaeological dig in the desert with four routes, 16 new special events and a new championship for each of the three classes. Tropical Ice Pack contains two new tracks including Life’s A Beach set upon a Brazilian juice bar and the Alpine resort of Yellowsnow Piste with four routes for both new tracks. Tropical Ice Pack also introduces two new game modes titled overtake and checkpoint that feature in the 18 new special events and the new championship for each of the three classes. Overtake tasks players with overtaking as many cars as possible within a set time limit, while checkpoint challenges players to driving within as many narrow green checkpoints as possible before the time limit is reached with each checkpoint increasing the remaining time. Both sets of downloadable content are exceptional value for their respective price points as they individually provide ample content that expands upon the vast amount of original content. Table Top Racing: World Tour also has a Swag Bag bundle available including the game, both downloadable content packs, a 3D dynamic theme and 16 premium car avatars for £17.99.
The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller with a simplistic control scheme consisting of pressing R2 to accelerate; pressing L2 to brake; pressing X to fire a pick-up weapon; pressing square to fire a wheel weapon; pressing triangle to reset vehicle; pressing up or down on the d-pad to zoom the camera in or out respectively; pressing L1 to look behind your car; changing the direction of the left analogue stick to steer the car; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu.
The DualShock 4 controller vibrates during collisions with cars, obstacles and trackside barriers as well as jumps and track undulations such as ramps and inclines, although there is no option to re-map steering from the left analogue stick to the d-pad or gyroscopic motion sensing functionality of the controller. The touch pad is not supported which is surprising given that the touch screen in Table Top Racing on Vita was utilised as an alternative method to look behind your car. There is no light bar implementation which could have displayed a shade representing the colour of your chosen car livery, while temporarily changing colours to produce green when overtaking a car, orange for a weapon fired from your car hitting an opponent, red when hit by a weapon fired from an opposing car and flashing red when having fallen off-track or having a big crash with another car or obstacle.
Graphically, the Table Top Racing series has never looked as good as it does on the PS4; providing 1080p and a high quality of textures in harmony with appropriate lighting and incredible trackside details to bring even more life to the materials you would expect to find on everyday surfaces such as wood, toys, boxes, food, crockery and much more in the surrounding environments. Car models look exceptional, alongside an amazing level of performance that creates a real sense of speed which only progresses further as cars are upgraded to reach their maximum potential accompanied by smooth car animations and authentic physics for cars and on-track objects.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, championships menus, special events menus, multiplayer menus, garage menus, options menu and various gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the touch pad. The background of the menu screens looks very colourful and vibrant as they contain a model of your current car which can be rotated with the right analogue stick set within the backdrop of a track which perfectly encapsulates exactly what the Table Top Racing series is all about.
Sound effects include roaring engines, boosting acceleration, screeching tyres, weapons being fired and explosions from when weapons aimed from your car hit their mark on opponents’ cars and vice versa. The music takes a complete detour from the guitar driven rock of Table Top Racing on Vita for dance electronica soundtrack containing over 20 exclusive songs from breakbeat producer Wes Smith and Friends. Surprisingly, there is no DualShock 4 speaker support which could have produced more prominent audio such as engines, screeching tyres and power-ups hitting on-track opponents or perhaps even subtle sounds including picking up a power-up and collecting hidden bronze, silver and gold coins situated around the tracks.
The trophy list includes 31 trophies with 15 bronze trophies, 10 silver trophies, 5 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy with a further 6 trophies including 3 bronze trophies, 2 silver trophies and 1 gold trophy for the Tropical Ice downloadable content. Easier trophies include the A Rite of Passage bronze trophy for purchasing your first car; the Nailed It bronze trophy for winning your first championship event; the So Very Special bronze trophy for completing your first special event; and the Tuned Huh bronze trophy for purchasing a single upgrade for a car. There are 3 online multiplayer trophies including the It’s the Taking Part That Counts bronze trophy for completing your first online multiplayer race; the WWW.INNING silver trophy for winning your first online multiplayer race; and the Crush Your Enemies gold trophy for winning a total of 20 online multiplayer races. Harder trophies include the Dominator gold trophy for winning every original championship event; Gold Always Believe in Your Soul gold trophy for winning every original special event; Ermahgerd! Midas in da House gold trophy for winning gold trophies on all original championships; and Bronze Age, Silver Spoon and Gold Standard bronze, silver and gold trophies for collecting every hidden bronze, silver and gold coin. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 12 to 15 hours to platinum the trophy list and an additional 12 to 15 hours to 100% the Tropical Ice downloadable content.
There are three difficulty levels including amateur, pro and expert that not only reflect a step up in A.I. who will block your natural racing line as you are about to attempt an overtake, look to push you off the side of the track or being more aggressive in their usage of power-ups, but also the Cult Classics, Street Racers and Supercars car classes. Every car class will represent a distinctive change in handling due to the increased top speed and acceleration; therefore players have to know when to hold back instead of accelerating too fast over a jump and either into a trackside barrier or off the side of the track.
Online multiplayer allows players to join a public lobby or host a game publicly or by invitation only with online multiplayer races supporting 2 to 8 players, while providing a further opportunity to earn gold coins and XP. Table Top Racing: World Tour possesses flawless performance during online multiplayer even when downloading and streaming simultaneously; I was still able to play 14 consecutive online races without disconnection or lag and my online lobby filled pretty quickly containing anywhere from 4 to 8 players for the majority of races.
Hosting a game allows the host to customise the experience by selecting any of the five tracks and four routes from the core tracks or alternatively core tracks in addition to Supercharger Pack or Tropical Ice Pack downloadable content tracks if they have been purchased separately, any amount of laps from 3 to 10, car category, no upgrades or maximum upgrades, availability of weapon pickups and any, an individual type or no weapon wheels in addition to selecting your car from within the chosen respective car category and inviting friends into your lobby. Races cannot be selected in multiple quantities, although as points earned from race results are combined together for each player participating, therefore the points scoring format creates an addictive competitive environment in which players will want to keep on racing until they have outscored everyone else.
Unfortunately, the only mode playable in online multiplayer is car combat and while that is still extremely entertaining and pure racing is technically available through turning off weapon pickups; there should have been the ability for players to play more modes from the single player such as elimination, pursuit and overtake with variations of time trial, hot lap, checkpoint and drift events which could work by having multiple players simultaneously participating within the same lobby and track without collision detection. It would also be a worthy addition to have an option for including A.I. controlled cars in online multiplayer races to be able to start racing online without having to wait for the lobby to fill with players and having players join mid-race in place of the closest A.I. controlled car.
There is no sign of the previously promised 4 player split-screen multiplayer; although there is still hope that it could be patched into World Tour. Split-screen multiplayer could be implemented into the career mode, special events and customisable tournaments for 2 to 4 players. Alternatively, split-screen multiplayer for 2 players could technically be achieved through PlayStation VR support with multiple first-person perspectives to choose from, while the second player has a full TV screen in the same approach as Monster Escape in The Playroom VR.
There are no online leaderboards despite Table Top Racing on Vita including online leaderboards for world rankings, online rankings and biggest drift event scores, alongside the positioning of each player based upon their total points in addition to a primary focus on the fastest times for every track; therefore it is surprising to not have online leaderboards within World Tour.
The replayability stems from a variety of areas such as the fun of car combat gameplay elements, earning in-game currency to purchase new cars and upgrades, earning XP and levelling up by performing well in races to unlock new events within championships and special events, every track and route containing shortcuts, hidden coins to collect and entertaining online multiplayer will have players returning to the game for a substantial amount of time, although split-screen multiplayer and online leaderboards would increase replay value significantly further.
- Title: Table Top Racing: World Tour
- Developer: Playrise Digital
- Publisher: Playrise Digital
- System: PS4
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross-Buy: No
- Cross-Play: No
- Players: 1/2-8 (Online Multiplayer)
- Hard Drive Space Required: 4.09GB (Version 1.05)