Micro Machines: World Series wants to be so much more than it is.
Part of it is in the DNA of the franchise itself – controlling your mini-vehicle in a top-down view, you can’t help but notice that your fancy ambulance isn’t driving on a proper road, but on the slightly creased cardboard of a Ouija board. Upon pick up of a power-up, you’re not launching a rocket at an opponent – instead, a mere nerf dart is let loose to deal damage. Micro Machines is a word full of make-believe, and sadly, this notion has crossed into the mechanics of its latest release.
Admittedly a budget title, we’ve held back our review of World Series in the hopes Codemasters could tighten up the game’s online capabilities. In the numerous matches we’ve played, a mere handful of human opponents have featured – and even so, we’ve had to wait minute after minute to eventually be paired with AI. It’s a shame, really, because even in these rather hollow matches, it’s easy to see untapped potential.
With no proper single-player to speak of, you’re going to be queueing for online-yet-not matches. It gets frustrating extremely quick. Though couch co-op is available, it’s on a single screen – so it becomes incredibly difficult to see where you’re driving when players scatter to different corners. It’s assumed there wasn’t enough power to render proceedings four times to ensure a proper field of view?
Twelve-car racing is the best feature of World Series, with rubber-banding and track design really keeping vehicles clustered together. The result is chaos, Mario Kart-style; you’re leading the pack one second and dead last the next. You never really feel at an advantage, nor a disadvantage, as things change so frequently.
Battles modes, including capture the flag and deliver the bomb, are less enjoyable – this is primarily due to the floating, slippery feel of the game’s controls. They’re a little less obvious when doing laps, but really shine through when you’re trying to make a beeline at an opponent with a menacing power-up in tow.
World Series really embraces an Overwatch format, presenting each of the game’s 12 vehicles as a different personality and build. The ambulance heals (duh), there’s a tank that is quite literally a tank, and a spy vehicle that naturally allows for a cloak. Accompanying this are the vehicle equivalent of Loot Boxes, earned and opened without and nasty microtransactions. It’s a nice little touch, but like most other things in-game, it feels largely underused.
For Achievement or Trophy hunters, there’s a lot of the “use this hero and do this”-style unlockables, so at the very least, it encourages you to try all the different cars out.
In the end World Series has a lot of good ideas that were implemented quite poorly. If you were thinking about this one to scratch a casual racing or nostalgic itch, you’re best to hold off – at the very least, until these niggling performance issues are corrected.
Micro Machines: World Series was reviewed using a promotional code on Xbox One, as provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s scoring scale.