Micro Machines V4 PS2 Review

The Micro Machines name is synonymous with two things, that being toy cars and gaming. The toys were a craze that swept throughout the land, and were renowned for their miniature size (they were a mere 1.5 inches in length on average and much smaller than matchbox vehicles). The tiny cars may only really live on in the hands of collectors, on eBay and in car boot sales these days, but that hasn’t stopped Codemasters in bringing back the much revered series from its long slumber.

The V4 title says it all, as some readers will no doubt recall that a Micro Machines game was released by Atari some time ago. The original publisher has grabbed the licence back and enlisted the development prowess of Supersonic (the developers responsible for the likes of Micro Machines 2, Circuit Breakers and Mashed) for this “proper” sequel.

For a budget price Micro Machines is a more than fair trade. There’s 750 cars, which is unarguably a big number, but the lack of any mini aerial or water based vehicles may well irk some people. There’s also a respectable number of tracks (bathroom, kitchen, pool table, bedroom, garden, library themed etc) a track editor, more variation then you might expect and a sizeable career mode.

This career mode is four divisions long and is also a tough nut to crack. Like Mashed you can be fighting for the top of the game screen, and taking out your opponents by aggressively pushing them out of bounds, which is just as effective as weaponry such as exploding dices, missiles, giant hammers and plasma beams – all included here of course. Checkpoint and normal racing is also included, but none are quite as enjoyable as battling for the top of the game screen.

Even on the easiest difficuly level things intensify far too quickly and therefore become difficult all too soon. The AI doesn’t help matters as there does seem to be some cheating going on at times, and you’ll probably come close to blowing your top and taking your volcanic temper out by releasing a few expletives and lashing out at the closest thing (perhaps that clock has been staring at you for too long anyway).

Micro Machines has always been about the multiplayer though, and V4 is certainly at its best when other players join the fold. We have no qualms about calling this one of the best multiplayer experiences that money can buy, it’s really that good. Also good is the fact that you can unlock cars and tracks in multiplayer, which just goes to prove that the game was built around group gaming.

Further options include a decent track editor, which allows you to alter routes and place pick-ups wherever you fancy. It’s not a full blown track creation tool by any means, but for those who like a little tinkering now and then, it will no doubt suffice.

We can’t finish this review without mentioning those little dancing cars, as that’s exactly what they do when a point or race is won, they somersault too, which is pretty cute to watch. It might sound irrelevant but it adds character to a game that lacks a little something in the personality department, for this deficiency full credit must go to the rather drab visuals. This is one of the only major downfalls of an otherwise solidly addictive multiplayer experience.