Mini Motor Racing X, from developer Binary Mill, is a recent Playstation VR (optional) title that aims to bring a Micro Machines-type of experience to Sony’s headset. Does it succeed?
Of course Mini Motor Racing X isn’t an entirely new experience, especially if you keep an eye out for mobile gaming and the racing games developed for that platform. Much like the Table Top Racing games that made the leap to consoles before, this is a series that started out on consoles. We haven’t had anything on Playstation VR like this before though – the closest thing to racing toy cars was perhaps Tiny Trax, but the gameplay in that title was very different.
Not surprising when you consider its mobile roots, Mini Motor Racing X is easy to pick up and play, with intuitive gamepad controls. You can also see its mobile origins when you look at the game’s addictive upgrade system/loop, but they’ve done away with the monetization aspects in favor of a system that is more like arcade classics such as Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off Road (though a DLC option to quickly acquire career money is out there as well).
You can choose from a variety of different cars to start out with, and they all have their own specs. Since you can upgrade things like speed and handling the differences between cars even out over time (depending on how you spend your credits), but it’s fun to be able to jump in and have a different experience right from the start.
And while we’re talking about different experiences, it’s worth pointing out that Mini Motor Racing X can be played without a VR headset as well, and you can play from a chase camera perspective as well as a Tiny Trax-like point of view that echoes the classic RC racers of the arcade era. As with the games of that era, many races are quite short – so you’ll be back to buying upgrades and jumping into a new race before you know it.
The game’s career mode is a great starting point that showcases its many different tracks to race on – which includes mirrored and nighttime versions of the same tracks but everything still adds up to an impressive total. There’s a secondary career mode as well, which involves weaponized racing that isn’t too unlike what we see in kart racers. The default control scheme is a bit weird in that nitro boosts and weapons are both mapped to the same button (firing weapons first if you have them, even when you just want to boost), but you can change this thanks to a recently released patch for the game.
Perhaps best of all (for games of this type), the game supports local multiplayer so you can go head to head on a single screen, though I didn’t find a way to combine this with a Playstation VR headset yet. The online multiplayer mode works just fine in VR though, and supports up to four players at once. And if you feel like a break from the racing and the combat-fueled X mode isn’t enough, then there’s also a game mode called “bumper ball” that happens to feel a lot like a casual version of Rocket League – perfect for players like me who never quite got into Rocket League’s more strategic play.
We came away very impressed with Mini Motor Racing X – it’s a pretty standard RC racer on the surface, but it’s so packed with game modes, vehicles, tracks and other features (for both VR and non-VR players) that it’s possibly the best and most complete package you can get if you have a VR headset to enjoy. It’s a fun game without one, but the controls and optimizations done for VR are worth trying out.