Whilst most virtual reality racers take advantage of the sense of depth offered by the headsets to put you into a realistic first person experience, Tiny Trax does something a little different. In fact, the way it plays is completely different too.
Remember playing with Scalextric as a child? Well it’s like that with the racing taking place right in front of you across topsy-turvy tracks, except its spread across a series of imaginative and colourful landscapes. It prides itself upon simplicity too, with racing in the game consisting of accelerating, drifting around corners, switching lanes and using boost when you’ve earned some. It might not sound like much, but believe me, it makes for one of the most enjoyable racers I’ve played in virtual reality so far. Unfortunately though, it’s a little lacking in content…
Drifting is the only real intricate feature of the game but even that isn’t all that difficult to get to grips with. As you hit a corner you’ve got to flick the left stick in the relevant direction. Holding it down sees a small meter appear and if you maintain the angle of your car to sit comfortably in the sweet spot you’ll see your boost meter build up. It’s probably the most vital mechanic of the game as you’ll quickly find yourself falling behind and losing if you don’t maintain a constant stream of boost for your car.
Everything comes together nicely and feels ingenious in game though. Whilst all the mechanics are simple, learning to utilise them all in quick succession whilst trying to keep up with each twist and turn the track throws at you can become quite tricky. As you start to pick up on all of the small tricks of the game, you’ll start to enjoy yourself a lot more though. There’s little things like switching lanes at the appropriate time not to lose speed, boosting on corners to nudge yourself forward, or even something as simple as blocking racers so they can’t overtake you; all of these things may seem small but show there’s a lot more depth to the simple nature of the game. Pardon the age old phrase, but Tiny Trax is easy to pick up and play but can prove incredibly difficult to master.
Whilst Tiny Trax is great fun to play, it looks ridiculously impressive too with the colourful yet simple visuals looking great in the confines of virtual reality. Each of the twelve race tracks are well designed, look superb, and are all spread across a decent variety of environments made up of three different landscapes. You never know where you’re going to be racing next – you’ll be speeding across the likes of a pirate ship, an icy cavern, a volcanic cave full of lava, an underwater speedway, and even a sci-fi course set in the distant future just to name a few. Add to that the depth that virtual reality offers and you’ll find yourself feeling blown away; it was so impressive seeing cars zoom towards me as they drift across a corner that was sat by the side of my head. Tiny Trax really nails the simple things perfectly, in turn offering a sublime experience that really takes advantage of virtual reality in some clever ways.
The only real flaw to be found is within the game’s lack of content. There are only twelve tracks in total and you’ll easily see everything they have to offer in under an hour, whilst the restricted control style of each track means there’s never any secret shortcuts to discover – everything there is to see if clearly visible right in front of you, with no unexpected bends shocking you into a nasty halt.
The same applies for content to play through too, with the single player portion of the game made up of four cups spread across the twelve courses and then a selection of single races. There’s only one difficulty level on offer too, so there’s nothing to build up to as you slowly improve at the game. You could compete for the best time on leaderboards, but even that can begin to wear a bit thin with the small selection of tracks on offer; I think the developer missed a trick by not including mirrored versions of each track, but hopefully that’s something we’ll see in future updates.
At least the online mode is a lot of fun, giving the game a bit more excitement once you’re done with all of the single player cups. I’ve managed to get into a good few races against other players and they’ve all been a hell of a lot of fun; there’s something much more satisfying about beating a human racer, whilst the sense of unpredictability you get from their behaviour on each bend adds to the excitement of the race. There’s no doubting that Tiny Trax’s single player is a lot of fun, but it’s during the game’s tense multiplayer showdowns that it really shines.
Tiny Trax offers simplistic yet superb virtual reality racing that lets you see all of the racing unfold in front of and around you. It’s uniquely fun and you’ll find yourself hooked into its simple yet deep mechanics almost immediately. Despite this, it’s let down by a lack of content; what’s on offer is brilliant with each vibrant track full of personality and charm, but there are just not enough of them.
I still had a hell of a lot of fun playing the game though. If you get into the multiplayer side of it you’ll easily find yourself easily spending hours on end speeding across the fantastic raceways, whilst the single player is great whilst it lasts. There’s no better way to re-live those days of slot-car racing than by jumping on Tiny Trax – even if it is a little limited in content to play across.
Release Date: 25/07/2017
Format(s): Playstation VR