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Mini Motor Racing Review
Review Score:

Mini Motor Racing, The Binary Mill’s new top-down arcade racer, is now available from the app store. Featuring a large variety of short tracks, upgradeable cars, and terrific graphics, Mini Motor Racing is a quality title that, despite a few quirks, manages to impress.

Mini Motor Racing Pros:

  • Outstanding graphics with detailed textures and great lighting effects
  • Upbeat soundtrack reinforces action-heavy racing
  • Multiple control options that all work well
  • Variety of unlockable tracks and upgradeable vehicles across several attributes
  • Local multiplayer option
  • GameCenter integration for leaderboards and achievements to earn

Mini Motor Racing Cons:

  • Lack of online multiplayer
  • AI can be overly aggressive

Mini Motor Racing offers both Quick Start and Career modes, as well as local multiplayer action. Quick Start, as is usually the case, gives you the ability to jump into a race on any previously-unlocked track using any previously-unlocked vehicle. Unlike Career mode, the cars do not possess differing attributes and you don’t earn money for races. Career mode allows you to work your way through nearly 2 dozen circuits with 4 races in each. There are over a dozen vehicles to choose from, each one more superior than the others across attributes like handling, acceleration, top speed, and nitro. Each attribute is upgradeable several times over by using money earned from winning races. These upgrades are permanent and carryover regardless of which car you use, which has the potential to delight some and upset others.

Track lengths are fairly short, and lap counts increase as you progress. The cars themselves feel a bit light, lacking a sense of road grip on the rear tires, leading to plenty of fishtailing and spinning out. Cars don’t take damage despite slamming into walls and each other over the course of the race. Nitro and money pick-ups will appear randomly on track and are acquired by running over them. Each race starts with a few nitro bursts available, but snagging a few more can spell the difference between taking home the gold or re-racing again and again. The AI is decent, though falling behind in a race typically means that you might as well restart as overtaking opponents is not an easy or likely task. The recent update promises better balancing, but it remains to be seen. Learning shortcuts and memorizing track layouts will also go a long way toward winning races and topping the leaderboards.

A visually impressive game, Mini Motor Racing features highly-detailed environments that include day/night options, great shading/lighting effects, and even inclement weather with which to contend. The cars all have a unique look, and their cartoonishly chunky exteriors reinforce the light-hearted arcade-like nature of the game. Little details like customizable paint jobs and tire skid marks add something special to the overall aesthetic, too. Racing animations are relatively smooth, though the physics are quirky in an acceptable way. Hard turns tend to crush your momentum and slight taps by other racers can easily spin you out. Cars drift easily without any sort of braking mechanic (save for using manual acceleration and releasing the pedal), so it can be a little while before you get comfortable with the controls. The in-game music is fast-paced and funky, and the engine-revving and tire-screeching effects are appropriately used. There are 4 control options: Toggle, Tank, Slider, and Wheel. Toggle places left/right buttons in the bottom left corner and a Nitro button next to them. Tank moves the right button to the right side of the screen and centers the Nitro button. Slider replaces the left/right buttons with an analog slider, and Wheel offer a full steering wheel instead of buttons or a slider. The wheel acts as a dual-stick aiming button would, orienting the vehicle based on the positioning of an arrow on the wheel. All but the Tank options allow for manual or auto acceleration, and controls can be flipped if desired. While all work well, our favorites are the Tank and Wheel varieties.

Replay value is great, as the sheer number of races and fun customization options offer a wealth of gameplay to enjoy. GameCenter integration brings global leaderboards and more than a dozen achievements into the picture. Other than some control quirks, the lack of online multiplayer at launch is our biggest issue, as this title screams for the ability to race users from around the world. We hope that online functionality may be in the cards at some point down the road. Priced at $1.99 (or $3.99 for the HD version), Mini Motor Racing is a solid 4.5-Dimple pick-up.

Mini Motor Racing Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2011-12-13T00:33:50+00:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

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