Posted 1 year ago By kingquagmire - David Collins
It has been about nine months since we last saw TNT Racers, appearing on Sony’s PSP after hitting Xbox LIVE Arcade about this time last year. While it proved to be an interesting take on the kart-racing genre, it did have a few things that held it back from reaching the upper echelon of racers. Most notably, the camera design and poor pacing placed this one firmly in the middle-of-the-road catagory (ok, upper middle of the road). Now that it has been ported over to the PS3 (again, via PSN), has anything changed in the transition?
I can not, in any traditional way, be described as a fan of the racing genre. I do know the genre, but it just doesn’t carry the same appeal to me as others, such as tower defense, RPG, or the tried and true action-adventure. There is one exception though: kart racing. I don’t know if it’s the extreme departure from the more realistic simulation side of he genre, or if maybe it’s the vibrant colors and the frantic battle for power-up aided domination, but regardless, kart racing has a special place in my heart.
"Those looking for a more serious, sim-like atmosphere will need to look elsewhere, as TNT Racers is all about the slightly off kilter vibe experienced with its tongue firmly lodged in its cheek."
It’s this love of kart racing that gives TNT Racers so much appeal to me, and unfortunately, disappointment as well. TNT comes bearing most of the traditional genre hallmarks. A cute visual style that looks like the old Micro Machines toy line, with a Hanna Barbara flair to it and a hint of Fisher Price. Bright and vibrantly colored, these racers zip along well-designed tracks with a very family-friendly environment. However, don’t let that fool you. It may look kiddy, but it is easily one of the most competitive racers to come along in awhile. Those looking for a more serious, sim-like atmosphere will need to look elsewhere, as TNT Racers is all about the slightly off kilter vibe experienced with its tongue firmly lodged in its cheek. The jazzy, light hearted soundtrack compliments it well, giving an added sense cartoony zaniness.
The hook here is the variety. 18 different courses filled with plenty of obstacles and power-ups (which include everything from a ground-shaking mallet to land mines to several forward-firing cannons). Three difficulties, three play modes with four flavors, roughly a dozen different cars, and multiple control schemes. Players have plenty to enjoy and enough variety to keep things interesting. One race might have you running through a typical time trial while another had you trying to come in ahead of the pack. The Knock Out race is probably the most hectic, and unique, of them all, offering all the same chaotic pile ups and weaponry action, with a twist. Instead of the camera focus being on your car, as is typical for the genre, it instead remains fixed upon the lead car, whomever that may be. Whoever falls far enough behind to be forced off-screen, is out. Points are accrued by being the last to survive and the most points at the end of the race claims victory.
There are a few nagging issues though. The camera is prime suspect number one. Positioned just a hair too close for comfort, it ends up detracting from the gameplay, as well as the environments, which is a real shame. The frantic action would be much better served with a wider angle. As is sits now, it’s a little too claustrophobic to really appreciate it. Additionally, while the AI does a decent job, TNT Racers is a much better experience with human opponents. Sadly, the servers are fairly deserted, making that side of the game almost moot. And finally, the pacing of the overall game progression is much too slow, and sits in direct contrast to the racing itself. While the zippy speeds and opponent-blasting action is great during a race, moving forward to unlock new content often requires the same track to be replayed many times. The tedium of the grind just doesn’t fit the rewards, severely handicapping the motivation to continue.
The answer to my question at the beginning of this review is, simply put, no. While the game is still just as cute and fun as its other platform appearances, it still suffers from the camera being dialed in too far. And with very few people actually playing online, most of the enjoyment is reduced down to the off-balance pacing of the single player component, which is painful as it really does shine considerably more when played in multiplayer. With that said, at ten dollars, TNT Racers is still worth a look, even with the bit of tarnish it carries.
+ Fun, chaotic racing
+ Lots of variety
- Pacing is unbalanced
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Release Date : 2012/01/03
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : DTP Entertainment
Developer : Keen Games
Category : Racing
ESRB : T
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