Saturday, February 25, 2012
The game is based on Takara’s Choro Q racing car toys, also known as Penny Racers in the west.
These cute little cars were pull-back spring propelled toys, and were indeed very popular back in the day.
They were also known for their variety and collectability. And this is the first real strength of Road Trip Adventure. The amount of customisation that is available is incredible. From tinkering with the aesthetic look of your car, to installing new parts that improve performance, there’s a lot of upgrades to be bought in this game (200 or so, in fact). Those parts cost money, which is where the “Adventure” in the title comes in.
The main part of the game is, weirdly, an open world. The idea is that you drive from town to town, doing a couple of odd jobs for other cars (there are no people in this world, just cars), and then entering and winning races. This earns you money and then unlocks harder difficulty challenges.
The races themselves seem to have attracted the entire population of the game world, though. Any given race pits you against 24 other opponents. These opponents are largely dumb, and indeed half of them are prone to getting themselves stick on scenery and the like, but because the other half tend to stick to the perfect racing line, there’s some challenge to be had in overtaking large groups of racers to come out in first.
The tracks are nicely varied and exotic. One moment you’re racing around a plain, traditional circuit, the next you’re hurtling through a ninja hideaway. The developers have tried to take advantage of the toy car theme to make an interesting game, and the occasional water section, jumps and shortcuts do create a varied experience over the surprisingly numerous tracks for a PS2 game.
Aside from a few criticisms, it’s hard not to enjoy a game that is so intent on being fun. It’s a slow starter, because the under-equipped cars really do control horribly, but once you get through that and into the higher classes of racers this is a fairly competent, cute little racing game, and indeed something we don’t see a whole lot of any longer.
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