The trick with any party-racing game, like table-top racing, is to keep every event as close as possible. If the winner is decided before the last bend, you're doing something wrong. For the most part, this game gets it right, and it's easy to slip from first to sixth in the dying seconds of every race (or vice versa). Then again, we expect nothing less from a studio boasting several developers who worked on WipEout.
Vehicles start slow, but gradually increase in speed. Your opening choice between an entry-level ice cream van and a clapped out VW camper is pretty Spartan, and you'll need to put in an hour or so of fairly dull racing before unlocking anything with pace. Acceleration is automatic - all you do is tap the screen to steer left or right.
On track, the game throws you into a variety of races. There are straight-up time trials, combat races, elimination events and a few other variants, including full championships where you compete across a selection of disciplines. Once the quicker cars are unlocked, there's real skill in the actual racing as you navigate twisting tracks filled with aggressive opponents or an ever-ticking clock.
However, it's when weapons are introduced that the game starts to sputter. There are only four types, and each one proves to be little more than a mild annoyance or boost - presumably to insure no single player gets a huge advantage.
Sadly, with six racers all in close proximity for the majority of the race, all angrily letting off power-ups, skill is replaced by a struggle to simply stay on the track or keep up a consistent pace. It quickly becomes a war of attrition, with the winner being the racer who grabs the best power-up before the final corner. Sure, this keeps things tense - but winning often feels like luck or vehicular superiority than true skill...
Multiplayer is more entertaining, as real opponents bring better tactics (sadly, the shallow customisation system means you'll often compete against vehicles that are cosmetically the same as your own) and more meaningful races. Zipping past a real person on the final corner and imagining their iPad-tossing rage is, after all, more exhilarating than pipping the emotionless AI to the post.
For £1.99, Table Top Racers is fine. It can feel a little stingy with its content, and the racing rarely thrills, but there's enough here to keep you entertained for several hours. It's on the grid, but nowhere near poll position.
Solid iPad racer let down by a lack of content and poor weaponry
- Later vehicles bring a decent sense of speed
- Multiplayer is heaps of fun
- Poor customisation options
- Lack of weaponry (and most of it is underpowered)