The Micro Machines series is officially back after a 10 year hiatus with a brand new iteration for the current generation of consoles, World Series. With the promise of bringing back the classic miniature car mayhem action the series has been known for ever since its unlicensed NES cartridge days, did it turn out to deliver what it has promised?
Micro Machines World Series does a great job of giving out a nice first impression. Although it only runs at 30fps, it looks fantastic, capturing the classic DIY vibe of the series with better graphics, textures, and much more elements onscreen, such as G.I. Joe boxes and ZX Spectrum game cases. The courses are indeed beautiful and very well designed.
Another great positive is the local multiplayer, which is, after all, the main point of the entire Micro Machines franchise. Playing with people next to you in any of the classic modes such as Elimination or Free-For-All is still as fun as it has always been, and it will certainly create some heated discussions and curses among your friends. Ah, the joys of local multiplayer…
Not everything is perfect with this game, though. In fact, it has more flaws than positives. The nice visuals and retro vibe are the only good things I could mention. The first main issue with World Series is its controls. The Micro Machines series has never been famous for incredibly tight controls or precise cornering, but I feel like this one went way too overboard with the lack of precision. To simply put, your car is too slippery, meaning that even the dumbest of corners are quite hard to master. In many occasions you’ll see your miniature fall down a table due to you not being able to pull off an easy corner, not to mention how slow your car becomes when cornering. Those controls are definitely a disappointment.
Another main issue with the game is its lack of content. Previous Micro Machines games had literally hundreds of different cars and dozens upon dozens of different tracks for you to race along. World Series has twelve cars, all unlocked from the start. Yup, just twelve. Granted, there are many unlockables you can acquire, but they’re just cosmetic accessories for your cars, such as skins, tags and, for some reason, one-liners. You can only acquire those unlockables via lootboxes, each time you level up. Does that sound familiar to you?
The biggest problem this game has, however, isn’t its lack of content and its controls: it’s the games obvious identity crisis. World Series thinks it’s Overwatch: there’s no other way to say it. The menu layout is from Overwatch, the character select screen is from Overwatch, the mandatory online login is from Overwatch, the level-up and loot system is from Overwatch. You get the point. World Series, in order to try to appeal to wider audience in 2017, is trying to ride on the Overwatch, and above all, the eSport hype trains. Everything in World Series is designed to look as Overwatch-ish as possible, including that game’s main flaw: the lack of proper single-player content.
If you have ever played previous Micro Machines games, you’ll remember the well-done single player championships that have always been included in them. Sadly, there isn’t anything decent in the single player department: all you can do is play multiplayer rounds by yourself with bots, and those rounds won’t even garner you experience points to acquire loot boxes. To add insult to injury, the matchmaking, as of now, is very faulty, taking an eternity to find me a match, and doing so by adding a bunch of CPU bots. To sum it up: Micro Machines World Series is desperately trying to be an online eSport by telling everyone it is one, but fails miserably by being a bad online game in general.
There is a good game inside this quite disappointing title that is Micro Machines World Series. It looks amazing, its local multiplayer is still quite fun, and it tries its best to retain the nostalgic gameplay and enjoyment from the older games, but its bad controls and severe will to be the next Overwatch are too annoying for me to praise it.
Codemasters, you won’t make the next big eSport game just because you’re trying to force one down our throats. A game becomes a big eSport title by being fun to play even when competitively, above all. Sadly, that’s not the case for World Series. It’s still somewhat worth playing if you’re looking for local multiplayer action, but it fails miserably everywhere else.
Also available on: PS4, PC