Super Toy Cars feels like a game that escaped out of early access with a reassuring smile and a lot of fundamental issues unaddressed.
As I was playing through it I kept having to double check that it was indeed fully released and not still undergoing development, with so many prevalent bugs and a general lack of basic racing necessities popping up as if I had somehow been slipped a beta build in place of the final game. But Super Toy Cars is indeed “finished”, or at least unlikely to receive any major future updates, so we’re left with the game we’ve been given and it’s a rather disappointing end result to something that started off with such promise.
Super Toy Cars wants to occupy a space between kart racers and somewhat more realistic arcade racers, with the handling and track designs of the latter and the zany power-ups and silliness so often associated with the former. In reality it adheres almost entirely to traditional arcade racing, with the inclusion of power-ups being rather unnecessary and pretty useless on the whole. There was rarely an instance where launching a missile or dropping an oil spill gave me any noticeable advantage, occasionally being a slight annoyance but usually something I forgot was even there.
I think a lot of this though has to do with how spaced out racers inevitably get over the course of a race. After the first lap I would often be so far behind or ahead of everyone else that there wasn’t any chance I’d be able to hit someone with a power-up even should I want to, and even in the rare instance I was in the middle of the pack it so often felt like I was the only one driving. It’s a mystery to me how so many racers can exist on such a small track and remain largely entirely separate from each other, but it definitely makes the game feel rather isolating when the only reminder that you’re racing against someone is the fraction in the upper corner of the screen.
Again this is linked to another issue in the game, that being how unbalanced the different cars are and the laughably inept AI racers the game pits you against. Drift is by far the most important stat in the game, so much so that it means cars with a high drift rating will almost always be far and away the best vehicles in the game, rendering all but two or three cars impractical to try and drive. After only a few races I’d settled upon the Panther and found myself dominating every race despite driving like an absolute madman and crashing into things on a near constant basis. If the game starts out easy it trickles down to a virtual void of challenge, as I blew through race after race wondering if I had somehow been caught in a loop and wasn’t actually moving forward in events.
Keeping with the trend of every issue being intrinsically linked to another, that feeling of consistent repetition is the result of an abundance of redundancies in track designs and event types. There are only twelve tracks in the game, and at least half of them feel almost interchangeable with one another, with the others being iconic mostly for their backgrounds and not any interesting track layout. The handful of different event types again double up on each other, with checkpoint and single lap time trials feeling nearly identical and the only alteration between elimination and evade being the obnoxious mines placed along the track. There’s already a noticeable lack of content in Super Toy Cars, but having so much of it feel so similar to each other and stretch on so long somehow seems worse than if the game had just been half as long.
The monotonous grind of repeated events robs the game of any sense of progression. You aren’t looking forward to new tracks because there aren’t any; you aren’t looking to improve your skills because the AI is never challenging you. There’s no desire to buy new cars as so many are useless, and upgrades are needless and so inexpensive you can be fully upgraded after only a half dozen races or less.
And then there are the usual hallmarks of unfinished games: glitchy audio, constant collision issues, hitting invisible walls and clipping through solid ones, random frame rate drops, and a rather embarrassingly bare bones online mode (which doesn’t even support private lobbies or inviting friends).
I like what Super Toy Cars is going for, and I think with a few more months of development it could have become a lot more than it did, but being ostensibly finished it feels pointless to hold out hope that its problems will ever be fixed, or that it’s even in a state that could be remedied with a few patches. I’m not sure if it was pushed out the door early or its developers really thought it was finished, but the end result is still a game that’s in need of attention it won’t receive.