Wildcard Wednesday: TNT Racers: Nitro Machines Edition
Posted by Dave Letcavage
Micro Machines meets Mario Kart
Wildcard Wednesday is where we open up the floor to one of our writers to talk about any game that they have fond memories of, on any platform. From Pole Position on the Atari 2600, through to Journey on the PS3, no game is off the table. This week, Dave tells about a multiplayer experience that recently stole the spotlight from the masterful Super Mario 3D World.
These days, gamers are more likely to hook a headset to their ear and jump into a matchmaking lobby instead of gathering locally to participate in competitive gaming. Who can blame them, really? We lead busy lives and the convenience of playing online is an easier proposition than cleaning house and entertaining guests all night. That’s not to say that there aren’t still people out there who enjoy loading their couches with close friends and sharing a bundle of laughs together. Admittedly, I am one of these people, which is why I’m using this Wildcard Wednesday to recommend TNT Racers: Nitro Machines Edition.
Remember those top-down racers like R.C. Pro-Am (NES), Circuit Breakers (PlayStation), or Micro Machines 64 Turbo (N64)? Well, TNT Racers is in the spirit of those games while injecting its own brand of zany antics into the mix. Instead of a straightforward race from start to finish, the goal is either to drag other racers off screen by pulling ahead of the pack or by using items and weapons to blow up opposing vehicles. Four racers all share a single screen so no one has to squint at a constrained personal view, keeping the action centered and exciting. Because of this, things stay frantic, hilarious, and — pun-intended — explosive. It’s so simple and accessible, making for a great pick-up-and-play game that nearly anyone can enjoy.
The other night I had company over my place to romp through Super Mario 3D World in multiplayer. After we hopped, bopped, and clawed through a few worlds, I decided we’d take TNT Racers for a proper spin. What I expected was that we’d make it through a couple matches before wanting to get back to 3D World, but the opposite happened – we ended up losing track of time and playing for a couple hours. Its been a while since a game had us choking on laughter while concurrently cursing each other out. It's the type of experience where no one was actually upset about not coming in first place, because of how entertaining it can be to lose.
Now don’t get me wrong, TNT Racers isn’t going to win any awards – it’s just fast-paced, mindless fun. If you don’t have friends or family to compete against locally, you may not get much mileage out of this one. Playing against the computer isn’t quite as exciting, and the overall amount of content and variety is limited, so this game surely won’t appeal to everyone. My time was spent with the Nitro Machines Edition specific to Wii U, but there is a standard version of the game available on XBLA and PSN – though, I can’t speak to the differences between these. If this type of old-school multiplayer fun sounds like it's your speed, I'd highly suggest looking into TNT Racers.