Size matters not when your game isn’t too hot
There really isn’t much to comment on when talking about Tiny Racer. There is no character to the title, nothing unique in terms of race-tracks and the game feels buggy and repetitive after the second race. It tries to be a simple micro-kart racer, but feels so unpolished and lackluster that the only way to fully enjoy this title is to lower your standards.
The premise of Tiny Racer is exactly what it sounds like. You control a small race-kart and race against opponents in 3-lap tracks. You can pick from several vehicles like a police car, a truck, a sports car or a buggy, though none of them have any traits that separate them. At first I was actually surprised how snappy the driving felt. There is only a button to accelerate, a button to brake or drive in reverse and a respawn in case you fall off the track. There is no way to manually drift, but every corner you take does have an automatic drift to it. That’s actually all there is to it. There are no power-ups, no shortcuts, no unique spin on the genre or game. It’s just a micro racing game that doesn’t do anything well.
The game falls apart the moment you hit another kart or take a turn, which should take you less than three seconds to experience. The physics are terrible, with karts falling over one another while racing down hills or driving up ramps. Several times I accidentally drove into the guardrail and just flipped over. The only way to get out of that situation was to press the respawn button and get reset to an earlier position on the track. The AI also doesn’t provide much of a challenge. During my second race all the AI kart landed on the side of the road after the first ramp and some didn’t catch up for the remainder of the race. There is nothing here to keep you engaged. You can try the multiplayer, but honestly I’d recommend not putting your friendship on the line with another player for this title. Bugs also reign supreme. Several times I got stuck due to driving over an elevated bit in the road and had to respawn. Or how about the time I hit the pause button and the CPU actually kept on racing?
What really bugged me was that the camera is always positioned in a slight downwards position on your car. This means that the depth of field is so shallow that it becomes incredibly hard to see what lies ahead of you. Most of the time you can only make turns correctly by sheer memory, rather than actually being able to see the turn itself. It’s all these elements together that show that Tiny Racer lacks identity. The UI is barebones, none of the cars have any characteristics that would entice me to use them and there is nothing during the races that makes the tracks stand out. In addition, every music track is a similar 5-second loop that keeps on repeating the entire time and it’s godawful.
Tiny Racer offers nothing that you haven’t seen before or does anything special that requires you to play it. It feels like a game that was created in about a week without any attention to details or a specific goal in mind aside from ‘let’s make the cars tiny’. Honestly, it even failed in that regard. It’s been said that Nintendo allows practically anything on the Switch eShop nowadays and Tiny Racer has strengthened that belief for me.