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Mini Motor Racing

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

No careful owners

Product: Mini Motor Racing | Developer: The Binary Mill | Publisher: The Binary Mill | Format: iPhone | Genre: Racing | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Mini Motor Racing iPhone, thumbnail 1
Pulling off a power slide in real life is hideously difficult. Seriously, go out and try it - you'll probably crash into a tree or something.

That's why we have video games, so we can do things that would otherwise lead to our hospitalisation or incarceration by tapping a few buttons.

Of course, if the games in question aren't done well, we might once again be tempted to recklessly endanger our lives in the pursuit of automotive glory.

That's not to say that Mini Motor Racing is a danger to human life, or to advocate leaping into your 1.0 hatchback to try and do some awesome jumps. It's simply a suggestion that game developers have a moral duty not to make poor arcade-style racing games.

In need of attention

Mini Motor Racing is very much in the Micro Machines mould. You guide your cutesy car around a series of circuits from a top-down perspective, collecting prize money for winning races and spending the cash on upgrades. The game controls your acceleration, leaving steering and nitro boosts down to you.

The tracks are a mixed bunch, with tarmac, dirt roads, and a combination of the two standing between you and victory. Crazy hairpin bends and trackside obstacles are the order of the day, and each raceway has its own twee soundtrack.

Career mode is the heart of the experience, and features a frankly mesmerising number of races and championships. Everything is wrapped up in an impressive visual package that really sets Mini Motor Racing apart.

MOT failure

But while the bodywork looks good, the engine that lurks beneath the bonnet is clogged up with rust and congealed oil, spluttering along at a pedestrian pace that just isn't good enough.

For the first hour or so of Career mode, you'll win everything without batting an eyelid. Or enjoying yourself. You start every race at the front of the grid, and so long as you make it through the first corner unscathed you're going to cross the 'finish' line first.

Then there's a difficulty spike, and you're forced to go back and play through all of the dull races again to make some money to get your car up to speed. Parity is almost never reached - you're always too fast or too slow, making races frustratingly easy or frustratingly difficult.

Sold as scrap

And that's not the game's biggest crime. The handling is sloppy and unresponsive, collision detection is erratic, and you never feel like you're connected to the track.

The AI doesn't fare much better, with competitors often using their nitrous speed boosts to throw themselves into the scenery around the edge of a corner.

There are fleeting moments when Mini Motor Racing is a lot of fun - say when the balance clicks and you're caught in a tussle for the lead. But then you'll get forced off the track by a combination of stupid AI and bizarre physics, and the desire to quit the game and find a gravel track in real life will become too strong.
Mini Motor Racing
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 12 December 2011
It might have a nice body kit and some go-faster stripes, but Mini Motor Racing drives more like an old banger than a sleek, sporty number
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