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Toybox Turbos: Review

Toybox Turbos is even more deliberately nostalgic than the rest of the retro-inspired games coming out at the moment. After all, developer Codemasters was responsible for the series on which TT is so clearly based, so despite its reluctance to use the name presumably because it doesn't have the rights it very much wants you to be reminded of Micro Machines.

And you will be, if not by the similarity of the logo, then as soon as you get behind the wheel. Aside from the lack of miniature drivers in the cars and giant people in the background, this follows the same formula: toy vehicles slip around short tracks in familiar environments. You can even play with a “retro top down” camera view, though that familiar problem of not being able to see the next
corner can be mitigated through a lower, more modern angle.


More nostalgia comes from the tracks. Though the cartoony aesthetic is hardly going to set the game apart, the environments are filled with thoughtful details from erasers and colourful drink flasks in the schoolroom to wooden train tracks and Mousetrap style marble runs in the playroom. Ordinary objects become part of the race, with ramps made out of wedges of cake and jam spills that slow you down.

It may not dazzle graphically, but Toybox Turbos shows its modernity elsewhere. Each race has three stars, with different requirements for different modes: finish in a particular position in Classic, beat a particular time in Time Trial, overtake a particular number of vehicles in Overtake. It feels like a mobile game but does give the campaign a sense of progress as you work your way through seven cups.

One thing that hasn't changed is that this kind of game is far more fun with friends, and while online multiplayer is another modern inclusion it’s worth getting people together to play on the same screen. Because the camera needs to track all four players only the Elimination mode is available, but it encompasses all the mechanics. The point is to outlast your competitors, i.e. avoid falling behind, falling off the edge of the track, or falling prey to the weaponised power ups like mines and vehicle mounted hammers.

It’s so easy to slip off the edge or get stuck when trying to take a shortcut that the rounds are always short, which keeps tensions high but also limits the time for which people will be willing to play. Once you’ve unlocked everything in single player, this will end up the kind of game you switch on every now and then when you’ve got people over and you remember you have it, a relatively cheap
distraction that’s old-fashioned fun but ultimately fails to stand out.

6/10

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