There are plenty of racing games for the iPhone and iPad, covering the gamut between racing sim, street racing, and sci-fi. The recent release of the disappointing Dreamcast port, ReVolt, reminded us that there’s not much in the way of toy and RC racing games. Thankfully, Table Top Racing takes care of this problem quite handily. It’s a lot like ReVolt in terms of the taking arcade racing and shrinking it down, but the game is much more polished and playable.
Table Top Racing lets players choose from (and unlock) an eclectic collection of Matchbox- like cars– ranging from ice cream trucks to racing cars– and race them all around the house. Starting in the kitchen, racers will zoom through an array of familiar environments that might be mundane for a full-size person, but offer tons of great obstacles when playing as a tiny car. Unlike most racing games that strive to attain console-style gaming on a touch screen, Table Top Racing comes from some impressive PlayStation pedigree–its development team actually includes members who helped create the WipEout series.
The result is a surprisingly excellent arcade racer that plays well and offers plenty of variety. There are 10 upgradeable cars to play with on eight tracks set all over the house. The game features four championships to conquer in addition to over 30 special events and achievements to unlock. There are also six different game play modes– ranging from time trials to weapon-based racing variants. Power-ups are another feature in the game and include speed boosts, rockets and grenades, EMP blasts, and other fun toys.
As usual for an iPad and iPhone racer, acceleration and braking are automatic and steering is controlled by either tapping the left and right side of the screen or using gyro controls. We preferred the touch controls, but the game is responsive either way. If there’s a noteworthy flaw here, it’s that the game doesn’t quite feel as fast as we’d like. The frame rate is rock solid, however, and the graphics are excellent as well. Cars and tracks have plenty of detail and the audio is excellent.
The other major selling point for Table Top Racing is the inclusion of four-player online races. Matching games through Game Center, TTR proved generally stable and terrific fun when ￼playing with others online. We did encounter some occasional lag and jumpiness, but not enough to ruin the experience.
Without a doubt, Table Top Racing is one of the most polished and entertaining arcade racers in the App Store. With its great variety and mix of single and multiplayer game modes, it’s an incredibly well-rounded release that’s recommendable for casual and hardcore driving fans. Playing with tiny cars on the go has never been so much fun.