The Micro Machines mini toy car phenomenon has been around since the 1970’s with it arguably reaching its peak of popularity during the 1990’s and it was in the 90’s when we get one of the most popular video games of its generation with Micro Machines which released on the NES, SNES, Sega Master System and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, to name but a few formats from 1991.  Then it was from 1994 when we got my favourite release in the series with Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament.  Since that time we’ve had a number of releases and spin-offs, the most recent in 2006 with Micro Machines V4, but nothing in my opinion has reached the dizzying mini-heights of the 1990’s.

From then on, fans, including myself have been not only longing for a release on this generation, but a quality game that the series deserves, bringing us that old-school top-down multiplayer mayhem, infused with the gaming capabilities and online functionality that we know of today.  However, while there have been a number of pretenders attempting to hit us directly in the nostalgia feels, unless it’s a Micro Machines branded game from developers Codemasters, potentially nothing else will ever do.  Thankfully, 11 years on from Micro Machines V4, we do know have that authentic release that should not only satisfy veteran gamers of yesteryear, but also introduce new gamers to the franchise and we have just that with Micro Machines World Series for the PC, PS4 and Xbox One, though I do hope to see this title release on the Nintendo Switch one day, because if there’s another game made for on the go, other than Mario Kart, then its Micro Machines.

Visually, Micro Machines World Series will be instantly recognisable to most gamers, with its top-down visuals and of course iconic race tracks which can take place on Pool Tables, Kitchen Tables, Work Shop Tables and much more, each with their own unique aesthetic  and hazards.  You really wouldn’t have the series to look any other way and along with its gameplay style, this is how a Micro Machines game is meant to look and play.  However, what I would say is that this instalment does feel easier to control then past releases.  I suppose it’s fair to say that the gameplay has been refined for this modern era and mixed with the more technically advanced controllers that we have today, this should at least result in a few less controllers being thrown from across the room, hopefully.

Upon starting Micro Machines World Series, the choices available to you may seem a little basic, but one of appeals of this franchise, was its simplistic, pick-up and play style.  Micro Machines World Series offers three main modes to play, Battle, Race and Elimination.  Race does exactly what it says on the tin, you race over a number of laps and the first player across the finish line wins.  Battle will see various players, well, battle against one another as you aim to take control over a designated zone.  Elimination, arguably the most popular mode from the entire series, will have players participate in a race and if you car falls to the back of the pack and disappears from the screen, you’re eliminated, the race continues on until there is only one player remaining.  During each of these modes you will be able to pick-up Mario Kart style power-ups, from Nerf Guns to bombs in an attempt to temporality wipe your opponent from the game before they re-spawn back into the action.

You can play each of these modes locally against your friends, as well as online of course, and if you can get friends to play locally, this as it always has been, is the best way to experience Micro Machines.  You can also play against computer AI if you wish or use them to fill up the numbers against you and your friends.  Sadly where I believe Micro Machines World Series falls short offline is the absence of an offline knock-out style Tournament, whether it’s playing on your lonesome or with a friend.  It’s a small gripe I know, but it would no doubt be a benefit for those unable to play online at the time or just want something else to sink their teeth into.

Despite being able to play Micro Machines World Series offline, the way in which the gaming world has evolved today, the chances are that you’re going to spend most of your time playing online against other players.  Before you reach Rank 5, you can only participate in unranked matches, but once you hit Rank 5, then you’ll be able to take on Ranked Matches to earn you in-game rewards and credits.  You can earn and purchase new skins for your cars, as well as voices for each car/character, emotes and Grave Stamps (a mark which shows where you died/crashed during each match).  However while the online experience has been rather smooth once you get into a match, I fear that the longer this game exists, it the online player count will rapidly drop and little over a month from its release, there are clear signs of that already happening.

Each time you rank up, you will earn Loot Boxes which will contain random customisation goodies for your favourite cars.  Participating in Ranked Matches will also move you up the online leaderboards, which will also hopefully see you getting promoted into higher divisions, each with their own rewards.  Micro Machines World Series also has its own special events to take part in, which will be an event chosen by the developers at Codemasters and will of course offer you even more in-game rewards, but these events only available for a limited time, so try to take part in them when you can before they go.

All in all, Micro Machines World Series is the Micro Machines we know and love, and the game that many fans have longed for.  It’s nothing spectacular and it doesn’t need to be, but this is a little bit more than a trip down memory lane, because in its simplistic nature, whether you’re playing on your own, with friends locally or online, Micro Machines World Series is a lot of fun and what more would you want from the series?  Hopefully if this game can stand the test of time, we won’t have to wait as long for the next instalment for this beloved miniature racing phenomenon, and hopefully we’ll see Micro Machines World Series make its way on to the Nintendo Switch.



Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

Gamimg has been my life for 30+ years and will always be my passion. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living. My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake