Review: TNT Racers (PS3)
Great budget arcade racers aren’t very easy to find these days with the influx of realism into seemingly every new game that comes out. It’s not often that a game focuses on just being a fun title to pick-up and play whenever you have some spare time. Can TNT Racers throw realism out the window while still delivering a quality racing experience? Check out our review to find out!
Not too long ago on the NES there was a little gem called ‘Micro Machines’. It was a top down racing game that I loved when I was a kid which instantly made me think about the game I’ll be reviewing today. TNT Racers is a top-down combat racing game. As much as the racing is a vital part of the game, destroying your opponents and taking them out of the race is equally as important. The game packs 18 courses to run your opponents off and plenty of vehicles to switch between. When you combine all of the course hazards and power-ups with the cartoon-like graphics, you get a very enjoyable experience.
TNT Racers packs a lot into a tiny package. At first it really doesn’t look like much, however once you really take a good look at it you realize that you’re getting a lot of content for your $9.99. This is a kart racer at heart and you can go into it expecting much of the same that you’ve seen in many other kart racers with a few exceptions. You’re getting a solid, fun, racing experience where the objective is to beat you opponents or eliminate them. There are a wide range of levels and vehicles to choose from. Each level has a varying degree of different environmental hazards and settings and they really provide a lot of variety to the game. The cars, while all aesthetically different, offer no realistic performance differences (although the alien ship/hovercraft is a personal favourite of mine). The biggest difference between this game and most kart racers is the speed at which each race progresses. You can be eliminated very early on if you don’t get a quick start due to the fact that you have to be on screen to continue the race. This small fact can be frustrating, however it adds a new dimension to the level of difficulty.
Solo modes are split into three different race modes: Challenge, Time Trial, and custom race options. All of these different race modes are also available for multiplayer either locally or online. While the three race modes (really two, while offering a customizable third option) seem like a relatively weak offering, Challenge mode provides the remedy for that. There are three different series of 12 races with three different difficulty levels called Normal, Fast, and Turbo. In addition to the varying difficulty levels there are four big game modes that are used within challenge mode: Knock Out, Score, Time, and Lap. All of these modes are very self-explanatory and if those aren’t enough for you, there are even more than that! Other variants have you racing through cones or mines, trying to break objects in a set amount of time, and time trials. The content in TNT Racers is very rich and plentiful, it will have you occupied for hours if you really want to sit down and go through challenge mode.
You’ll find a lot of similarities with other kart racers in TNT Racers and yet if you look at the power-ups, you’ll see a lot of interesting ones like mallets, plungers with anvils attached to slow your opponents down, mines, cannons, nitro boost, and shields. Each has their advantages and disadvantages however; you can choose to drop a power-up if it is of no use to you. Like most games, the AI players seem to shift their focus to you if you’re in close proximity to them which can make life difficult. Another feature that is quite a difference from most in the genre is the weather system on some levels with blowing snow and sand that could crush your hopes of victory. If you are unlucky enough to be eliminated in the early stages of a race, fear not, your opponents have something to fear.
You will become a shadow car after being eliminated during most races and while in other games that means nothing, in this one it means revenge. You will have the ability to slow down cars and eliminate them from the race completely with unique power-ups and not only that but, you’ll still be able to collect coins (which help you attain a higher score each time you collect one of the three bronze, silver, or gold coins).
TNT Racers is one of the best value games out there for the sheer amount of content provided in such a small game. The amount of game modes, power-ups, levels, and cars is unmatched by any other title in a similar category at the same price point. It’s simply a great game to pick-up and play or something to bring out when you have a few buddies over. The problems I had with this game stem from the nearly non-existent base of players for online modes. I couldn’t find a single game on a few different days and that’s a big issue considering the amount of fun to be had with it. The only other issue with TNT Racers is the fact that while there are a great number of modes, there’s not a whole ton of variety when you get to the bare bones of each mode.
At $9.99 give TNT Racers a chance, it may surprise you. It surprised me and was a wonderful movement away from all the realism of today’s titles. It’s just fun, and essentially, that’s what games are all about.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this game was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes.