A mildly entertaining racer that is best suited for adolescents with a spark of creativity.
Penny Racers is a brand better known as Choro-Q in Japan. Though the name is tied to many video games, its origin lies in a pullback toy car brand introduced in Japan in 1978. Their popularity remains to this day, thus the numerous games bearing the name. The newest entry, Penny Racers Party: Turbo-Q Speedway, offers players an unconventional racing game that is more heavily focused on constructing the right vehicle rather than being perfectly skilled on the racetrack.
The game is broken into circuits, each of which contains one or more races as well as one or more mini-games, such as collecting coins on a track, bowling, or pushing a ball to the finish line. Each entry in the circuit, be it race or mini-game, has an associated challenge for which players can earn either a gold, silver, or bronze trophy. Each trophy carries a certain number of Q-Coins which can be spent in the Store to beef up a racer. Completing a race with a gold trophy will also net players a new part for their racer.
As players complete each circuit by receiving a trophy in each race, new parts will be unlocked in the shop for players to buy. One of the hooks of Choro-Q cars in Japan is buying a basic model for the chassis and then replacing certain parts in order to make it your own. Over the course of the game players will be continuously adding new parts to the sides, roof, front, back, and innards of their car, as well as even changing the body itself. Customization is highly regarded, and in fact completely necessary in order to win most races. During the first circuit, players will have quite a hard time competing because of their lowest-common-denominator parts.
Initially, Turbo-Q Speedway is frustrating because the controls (seesaw motion steering) are unresponsive and your vehicle is extremely slow moving, thus making the races seemingly impossible to win. As it turns out, the game basically forces you to lose a number of times in order to earn some coins so that you can replace your junky parts. Upon replacement, your racer will be greatly improved, and subsequently your play experience.Once players install a new engine, and various other parts to increase their speed, charge, and handling, they will find themselves blazing past the competition. With each new circuit, players will need to peruse the store and replace their older parts in order to remain competitive.
Unfortunately, after replacing all of the appropriate parts and making the recommended racer for the circuit, completing the featured races is nothing more than going through the motions. Racers who once consistently lead you are now nearly half of a track behind, making the win a given.
Turbo-Q’s presentation is sorely lacking. The graphics are unimpressive, the music is uninspired, and the sound effects are grating. Even the game's menus look low-budget.
Penny Racers Party: Turbo-Q Speedway is clearly a game made to appeal to a child old enough to play with and appreciate the associated toy cars. Within that age range, the game will provide ample challenge, as well as the opportunity to learn some of the intricacies of a car while expressing creativity. For everyone else, the game will offer some small doses of enjoyment and accomplishment, but will ultimately be too easy once its basic formula is uncovered.