Mini Motor Racing EVO is so bad it might be good.
Have you ever played a racing game that handled so poorly that it actually went full circle, with the controls suddenly becoming a sort of unique difficulty curve to the game? No, of course you haven’t – such a thing can’t possibly exist. Well, until now that is. Imagine having to race using the Warthog from Halo. Then crank up the drift-o meter just that little bit extra, and you’ve got Mini Motor Racing EVO. Although it initially feels sloppy, this Micro Machines-inspired racer slowly begins to win your trust as you plug away at its mental controls.
From the moment you start your first race, you’ll screw your face up in disgust. Mini Motor Racing EVO handles like a dog, meaning you’ll regularly mistime corners and drift around the outside, then nitro boost into some scenery and end up right at the back of the pack. But there’s something strangely compelling about mastering the game’s controls. There are so many quirky nuances compared to other racers: for example, if you hit pretty much anything, or even scrape the side of your car as you slide around a bend, you’ll come to a near-complete stop. This forces you to really perfect corners and make sure you don’t just slam into the surroundings.
It doesn’t stop there either. If you hit an obstacle on the track, like a tire or a cone, you’ll slow right down or even flip out from your preferred direction. Hitting other racers is the worst, as it feels like you’re being dragged away with the tide, and you’ll end up way behind the race leaders as a result. The controls can sometimes be a little unbearable. Go around a bend at too wide of an angle, for example, and it’s actually possible to get stuck against the side and have to follow it around, rather than pulling away and using the shortest path to victory.
The vast selection of maps offers hundreds of different tracks to choose from, in addition to a level editor and Steam Workshop support: meaning you’ll potentially be downloading new tracks forever. Although the majority of them are pretty forgettable, the Team Fortress 2, Portal 2, and Fruit Ninja tracks are really lovely.
As you play through the game, you’ll receive cash that can be used to purchase upgrades for your car. It’s a weird system, because it feels very unbalanced – you’ll be destroying the opposition in one race, and then losing hopelessly in the next. Unfortunately the upgrades don’t always give you the boost that you need to overcome this, and you may have to go back and grind previous levels. The game also tries to artificially lengthen the experience by increasing the number of laps you have to go in later levels, which is just hugely annoyingly. There’s really no reason for it, given that there are already hundreds of tracks to beat in the first place.
Mini Motor Racing EVO is a strange beast. Those looking for an online multiplayer racer to hack away at with friends may find its quirks enjoyable enough. But if you’re looking for a more solid release, this isn’t what you’re after.