Register
A password will be e-mailed to you.

In our Super Pixel Racers review of the Xbox One version, we take a look at a highly pixelated, top-down racer from H2 Interactive that takes you back to the days of Micro Machines and Super Off Road.

If you are as old as me, you will remember the mighty top down racer that was Micro Machines. Apart from the fact it turned the idea behind the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movies into a game, it was also immense fun. And if you bought Micro Machines Military on Mega Drive, you could stick two extra controllers into the cartridge for four-player shenanigans.

H2 Interactive’s Super Pixel Racers picks up where many old-school racing games left off. Except here you get four player local multiplayer without the mess of controller wires and online multiplayer for up to eight people.

Super Pixel Racers really does manage to look the part, which is basically code for saying it looks ridiculously pixelated compared to your modern-day racer. But that was the style at the time and it still looks good now in a nostalgia-tinted kind of way.

There is a career mode. Here, you work your way through C-Class hatchbacks to B-class road car legends, such as the Subaru Impreza and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. Although neither are officially named and there are too few pixels to get too specific, but the standard colour schemes are a big enough hint.

Being a top-down racer, I expected the control method of old where you press right to go left when driving down the screen. But in Super Pixel Racers, you point the left joystick in the direction you want to go.

Super Pixel Racers does things a little differently to its spiritual predecessors though, such as make Ken Block style drifting important. By pressing A, you can slide your car around a corner. Doing so fills up your nitrous boost bar, which can be used for a speed boost by pressing A.

It’s a simple enough mechanic, but working out when to use your boost and timing it so that you can enter a corner at top speed and avoid hitting an obstacle is more difficult than it sounds. And it’s actually rewarding when you get it right.

Super Pixel Racers (Xbox One and PS4 racing game)

If things are too difficult, you can upgrade your car. Speed increases your top speed, acceleration helps you accelerate faster, nitro lets your nitrous reserve build faster and durability lets you take more of a kicking before you blow up and have to wiggle the joystick back and forth to repair.

There are numerous game modes to play, including your bog-standard Rallycross race against seven other AI players and Time Trial, which requires you to complete a race before a certain time limit. There is also Drift Show where you have to skid about to make up a certain point total before the time runs out.

Takedown, meanwhile, wants you to destroy a certain number of players and Rally needs you to drive through checkpoints until you cover the required distance. Land Rush just requires you to remain in first place for a certain time or be in first place when the race ends.

By adding numerous game types, Super Pixel Racers ends up remaining fresher for a longer period of time, especially when you consider the reasonably slow drip-feed of money from winning events and that you can buy faster cars for quite considerable sums of money.

Super Pixel Racers (Xbox One)

The AI is easy enough to beat in C and B-class races. It’s actually your own skill that will limit progress, as the higher speed and agility of the entry-level ‘Lance’ A-class machine (which looks strangely like a Lancia Stratos rally car) makes it much harder to master.

A combination of the short-ish field of view and that corners approach so much faster really does make progress at this point much slower. You actually have to learn the tracks and master your drifting skills, which is fine if a bit of a culture shock after having it so easy until this point.

Luckily, though, you can partake in Plus versions of the C and B categories, which gives you more practice and changes the scenery. Reverse circuits at night, for instance, stop familiarity from kicking in too quickly.

These plus races also give you time to build up some money to upgrade your A-class car or, if you save up 6,000 or 12,000, the chance to buy something other than the Lancia, I mean, Lance.

A special mention should go to the soundtrack, which is of the 16-bit variety and is suitably catchy. Those who miss old gaming music will enjoy the nostalgia, while fans of chip-tune music will appreciate the effort.

Being the third player to play Super Pixel Racers at the time of writing, I can only imagine what the eight-player online stuff is like. But it’s probably going to be fun, especially as it appears there is a ‘Hunted’ mode that has you either chasing down other racers or running away from whoever is the hunter.

Getting to the final event that is the Master Cup will take me some time, which helps justify the sub-tenner price tag on PS4 and Xbox One. But beyond that, it’s hard to know how much longer it will hook you.

What I will say is that Super Pixel Racers is a well-polished racer that is pleasantly fun and worth considering, even if it lacks the same flair and originality as Micro Machines.

Super Pixel Racers review: Micro Machines, is that you?
Super Pixel Racers shuns 3D in style, but it's by no means as inspired as some of its 16-bit contemporaries.
Enjoyment
Graphics
Sound
Value for money
Longevity
The Good
  • Looks the part
  • Varied-ish game types
  • 16-bit tunes are great
The Bad
  • Steep difficulty curve
  • Ocassionally plain presentation
  • Some frame-rate drops
3.5The Score

About The Author

Editor-in-Chief

Ben Griffin is a motoring journalist and founder of the website and YouTube channel, A Tribe Called Cars. He is also a contributor at DriveTribe.

Related Posts