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Xperia Play  header logo

Mini Motor Racing

For: Xperia Play   Also on: Android, iPhone, iPad

Mini monster

Product: Mini Motor Racing | Developer: The Binary Mill | Publisher: The Binary Mill | Format: Xperia Play | Genre: Racing | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Mini Motor Racing Xperia Play, thumbnail 1
Mini Motor Racing on iOS was a deceptive little game. On the surface, it looked as stunning as a brand new Porsche rolling off the garage forecourt, all gleaming surfaces and sexy bodywork. However, as soon as you turned the key in the ignition, things fell apart - the controls were dire, the challenge unbalanced, and the rival AI as daft as a brush.

While the transition to Xperia Play has solved one of those issues, the other problems remain - and they're just as annoying as they were on iPhone.

Presented in much the same style as the 8-bit classic Micro Machines, Mini Motor Racing is a circuit-based speed-fest which pits you against six other cars across a variety of different tracks - some take place on tarmac, while others are off-road affairs.

Wheel spin

In the game's robust Career mode, you're expected to battle it out for supremacy over a wide range of courses, earning cash as you go. This can be spent on upgrades to your existing motor - or, if you're feeling flush - an entirely new set of wheels.

The ingredients are all there for a truly gripping adventure - but sadly, Mini Motor Racing begins to display its lack of race form around this point.

You'll speed through the early stages like Lewis Hamilton going head-to-head against a bunch of OAP drivers, but it doesn't take long before you hit the first of many difficulty spikes.

These force you to upgrade your car to gain a equal footing with your suddenly speedy opponents, and that invariably means repeating a load of previously-bested races to earn the required cash. Rinse and repeat.

The most galling thing about this is that the only advantage your rivals have over you is pure pace - they display all of the driving skill of a blind rhino in a Lada, and will quite happily bump and bash into one another, even when there's no real reason to do so. It's not uncommon to drive past two opponents which have seemingly become affixed to one another.

Lack of traction

It's such a shame that these problems haven't been addressed, because there's a great racer here under all the shortcomings. Mini Motor Racing looks amazing, and makes you wonder if the Xperia Play might have a bit more juice in the tank.

The detailed 3D visuals never stutter or falter for a second, which is impressive when you consider how old Sony Ericcson's gaming phone is.

Multiplayer is another welcome addition, although the hilariously protracted waiting times are not. It takes an age to find an open game, by which point you've lost all enthusiasm for the race itself.

The final plus point is, of course, the Xperia Play controls, which make use of the 8-way D-pad for steering - acceleration remains automatic, as it was in the iOS edition. We'd rather have used the analogue slider pad, but even so the interface is vastly improved in this updated version.

Not that it can save Mini Motor Racing from the scrapheap -although it's an improved effort, the Xperia Play port can't avoid the pitfalls which caused the iOS original to crash and burn so badly.
Mini Motor Racing
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 15 November 2012
This Xperia Play port benefits from superior handling, but still ends up in the gravel thanks to unbalanced gameplay and stupid opponents
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