Arguably one of the most addictive multiplayer video games has made an eagerly awaited return to the PS2. High paced, racing fun and a vast array of cars and tracks to unlock. Micro Machines is back…
I've always been a fan of the Micro Machines (MM) video game series so I was looking forward to V4. MM provides a different experience to your usual racing game with intuitive tracks such as racing on a kitchen top or in a chicken coop. The tracks V4 offers do a lot to impress and are perfect for battling mates on. The tracks are full of surprises with rolling pins blocking your way and snooker cues attempting to shunt you off course. Each race on V4 is unpredictable which is great.
V4 follows the same concept as its predecessors and hasn't changed an awful lot, apart from its now bulging collection of un-lockable cars (750 to be exact). Why you need so many varieties of miniature vehicles is anyone's guess.
There has been a step up in graphics since the last Micro Machines edition in 2002 that is to be expected however the graphics are still quite basic. The uninspiring graphics does not do anything to make the game any less enjoyable as MM has always thrived on its basic, easy to play approach to racing.
The multiplayer games are brilliant in V4 with the option of playing with up to 4 people. I enjoyed the battles the most with the aim of pushing your opponents of the screen or blowing them to smithereens. However when one car speeds up away from the other the screen only zooms out to a certain point before you get pushed off. When zoomed out to the maximum it is almost impossible for the person in the lead to know where they're going and see what's coming up next, which proves very annoying.
What's also good about multiplayer is you collect points for wins and second. These points accumulate to unlock new tracks and sometimes you are rewarded with a new car after a win.
Power ups are situated at regular intervals along the tracks containing either weapons or upgrades. There is a good variety of weapons to use such as the pea shooter, plasma gun, dice bomb and the return of the giant hammer, one of the Micro Machines favourites.
If playing on your own there is a single player mode which I thought was a disappointment. In this mode there are four sets of races to complete. Battle, Team Battle, Race and Checkpoint. Also there is a mini league at the end of each division where there is a series of races. After winning a race you unlock the next race in that set and also a bunch of new cars. There are four divisions from learner to legend that have to be worked through.
Single player is not very rewarding and unlocked cars can only be traded with other people on their memory cards or players on the same memory card. In multiplayer cars are set to the particular track so you can't choose your own car. There doesn't seem much point in going through the single player mode just so you can have some cars to trade, especially when trading is unnecessarily complicated.
There is a choice of play-for-keeps and play-for fun in multiplayer where if playing for keeps you can steal your opponents cars if you win. This is one advantage about the collection of cars in the garage and it is fun trying to win your friends cars.
Overall Micro Machines V4 is what was to be expected. Fair graphics, huge selection of cars, good game play, great multiplayer games and pretty average single player. There is also a track editor to keep you busy. I didn't have as much fun on V4 as I would have hoped largely due to the single player option that failed to impress. The problem with V4 is that it hasn't changed much from the original and while it sticks to its roots, it is starting to get repetitive. The Codemasters team has kept it pretty simple to attract a younger audience but I don't think that the changes made to the game are that significant. Worth a look but only if you have another eager gamer to race against.
7 out of 10