A 1990s rival to Nintendo’s Super Mario Kart, this joyous and fast-paced romp required skill, commitment, and silliness.
The History of Micro Machines
From British developer Codemasters, this game is usually thought of as a Mega Drive title. But it was also available on the SNES, NES, Amiga, Game Gear, Game Boy, and MS-DOS.
The first outing arrived in 1991 on the NES. It was such a hit it led to ports across pretty much every contraption available at the time.
Here’s a wee sample of the NES title in action.
However, it’s Micro Machines 2: Turbo Tournament that most retro gamers from the 1990s will remember. Launched in 1994, the sequel was a multiplayer masterpiece.
Supersonic Software developed that for the Mega Drive, with Merit Studios handling the SNES version (it gets a bit messy, with multiple developers managing various ports).
Regardless, the goal of the game is the same. From a top-down perspective, you race tiny cars against competitors (either computer AI or multiplayer action).
You race around real-life locations, such as in a garden, bathroom, or someone’s kitchen (racing around breakfast cereal and all that). The goal, obviously, is to finish first.
Ah! But, remember, to finish first, first you have to finish! And it’s a tricky business with all the stuff in your way.
One of the main draws to Micro Machines was, of course, the multiplayer option.
With friends sitting around a TV and battling it out for the win, that did make for many a happy childhood memory.
And you get to drive a bunch of different vehicles, which shakes up the formula a little bit. Meanwhile, the different environments make the racing consistently engaging.
And it’s all just good fun! Particularly for short bursts of play—the entertainment value is most excellent.
So, here we have something of a retro gem. Although it’s not aged as well as Super Mario Kart, it still has some mighty fine kicks to it.
Micro Machines in Later Years
And it was suitably mediocre, receiving middling reviews from the gaming press.
That was the start of the decline in the series’ reputation, as subsequent releases met with similar reactions.
In 2017, Micro Machines World Series hit the GayStation 4 (lol roflmao NOOBS!) and Xbox One.
The reviews aren’t at all great. 3/5 user reviews on Steam and most gaming publications seem hellbent on 5/10.
And Codemasters seems to have driven itself into the same trap. Perhaps a return to the basics would help things?
Until then, the magic formula appears to be lost. If you want your Micro Machines fix, return to the second Mega Drive installment, eh?