Sure, the venerable kart racing genre revolves around wacky track designs and a rotation of goofy-lethal power-ups. But, no matter how fun the chaos is, I still need to feel like I'm going really fast.
Table Top Racing denies me that rush. And, worse, it doesn't offer up a satisfying option for blowing away the guys ahead of me either.
At first blush, the game's impressive graphics and shrunk-down premise seemed like it might win me over. The tiny toy cars in the game get driven over tables filled with sushi, ketchup and other everyday detritus, making it seem like you're racing in the living spaces of a race of really sloppy giants.
But all that clutter is actually part of the problem in the first release from indie studio Playrise. The tracks are appropriately bendy and twisty but the junk in the background was more interesting than the sluggish, herky-jerky racing in Table Top. I never got any real sense of speed in the match-ups I played against the computer and the power-ups didn't juice things up enough for me either.
The boost pick-up feels like an embarrassing little fart that pushes you ahead for only a tiny spurt of distance. And the missiles and mines you can fire at enemies explode in way-too-subdued fashion to feel like much fun, even when you do nail your targets, Which will be often.
The gameplay doesn't feel like racing. It feels more like a bunch of clowns stumbling all over each other. Table Top Racing is a clumsy but good-looking effort at trying to recreate the appeal of Mario Kart on an iDevice. Too bad it doesn't measure up in the ways that matter.