Back in the long-long ago of 2011, a fun little isometric racing game with the title Mini Motor Racing launched on mobile platforms. It had exaggerated vehicle physics, cute levels and was received very well by reviewers and players. Since its launch, the game has continued to evolve in some ways, launching on PC, and then finding its way into countless PC bundles, and in the past couple of years having console releases as well. Now with the latest and greatest iteration entitled Mini Motor Racing X, the zooming mini cars have found their way onto the Nintendo Switch. Can this bite-sized racer still have fuel in its tank nearly a decade later?
Mini Motor Racing X is an unleashed slot car racer and kart racing game blended together. It’s fast, a bit goofy, and offers quite a few gameplay modes and tons of content. Let’s dive into the basics! Entering the game, you’ll be presented with a dynamic fully rendered garage that acts as your menu flow. There are several core game modes, but Career is the best entry point into the action. You’ll be able to choose your own chibi-styled vehicle next, and there’s quite a selection with over 20 total vehicles to unlock, and some pretty sweet variations that ranged from hot rods to buses, and even a certain sleigh, all with multiple paint schemes as well. Like most games of this ilk, every vehicle harbors a set of stats and you’ll need to earn cash in order to upgrade your favorite rides.
Once you’ve got your wheels all picked out, you’ll have the option of entering tournaments in either the Classic Mode, which is effectively just straight up racing (and the most akin to the original 2011 game), or new to this series is the offering of Type X mode. Here you have weapons and power-ups, such as homing missiles, mines, and even a flying wrench, which ultimately pushes this game right into that kart racing genre. Whichever mode you select, you can swap back and forth at any time, and you’ll learn very soon that this game offers a metric ton of tracks to race.
Championships are progression locked, and your first Beginner one includes 36 races that must be completed before you’ll unlock the next Championship, which is classified as Standard, and encompasses another 48 races. In total, there are 4 championships, and yes, a metric ton of race events as mentioned.
The eShop info page touts 52 unique environments, and I think that’s pretty close to the truth, although I did find that each track typically had a day and night version (some might argue if that makes them unique or not). Still, you’ll be racing forwards and back, and day and night in each of those courses, but luckily the repetition didn’t feel as bad as I was anticipating with that many race events per Championship. Even though the tracks are well designed, they are incredibly small. Each lap averaged 10 seconds or less, so these are tight courses for sure and not sprawling environments typically seen in racing games of this genre. This isn’t necessarily a negative point though, and in fact makes for nice and quick play sessions and easy course-learning to maximize winning on any of the game’s several modes of difficulty.
What bothers me the most is that even after a decade’s time, Mini Motor Racing X doesn’t look that hot. It’s too bad that the game wasn’t fully remastered to take advantage of the power of the Switch. The original launch was isometric only if I recall right, however now you’ve got multiple camera options including several third person helicopter cams, and even a first person basic interior camera to use if you’re feeling edgy. This however highlights the fact that most of the levels are created with moderate to low texture resolution and basic and blocky geometry for things like buildings, trees, and other props that may have previously been masked by the higher isometric camera of the original.
Regardless, there’s enough content and levels that keep the game feeling more than fresh. Additional game modes also offer a little something extra for players. There’s a super lightweight Rocket League knock-off soccer mode, which while nifty, I found it to be fairly clunky, and there were some severe framerate problems with the ball on-screen too. The Micro Motor game mode shrinks the vehicles down even further, but again this felt a bit too gimmicky for me to enjoy extensively. Multiplayer however is certainly a highlight here, and you can play cooperatively through career, or just have fun with 4 player battles.
The racing gameplay is certainly enjoyable. The cars visually have accentuated vehicle lean around corners, but the controls are responsive, and earning upgrades does have a real impact on how driving will feel as well. Objects within the environments will mess with you a bit, and getting hit by a flying wrench will cause your vehicle to spin out, forcing you to recover quickly and take the lead again.
For me, I’m not surprised to see Mini Motor Racing X on Nintendo’s platform. It just makes sense, and does have a home here as a good, casual, arcade racing game. In truth, I’m actually surprised at how much mileage this title has gotten since its original platform launch back in 2011, and that for the most part, it holds up fairly well. Personally though, I’d love to see the graphics brought into a higher fidelity though to help make it a real stand-out title again. The competition is fierce with games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Crash Team Racing, so it might be hard to justify adding this one to your library unless you’re a hardcore racing fanatic. That being said, if you like short bursts of racing while on the go or in-between appointments, this might be one of the better choices out there.
Mini Motor Racing X Review
- Graphics - 4/104/10
- Sound - 5/105/10
- Gameplay - 6.5/106.5/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7/107/10
Final Thoughts: WORTH CONSIDERING
Mini Motor Racing X is a fast-paced arcade racer with a ton of content to keep you occupied for quite a few hours. Type X mode introduces power-ups & weapons refreshing the title a fair bit from just the standard racing element. Despite the visuals looking a fair bit aged, there’s still fun to be had here, and in particular with friends or Multiplayer for a reasonable $20 price tag. If you like kart or arcade racing games, this one finds a reasonable home on the Nintendo Switch, however there’s quite a few competing games already on the platform, so your mileage may vary.
Alex has been actively gaming since the release of the Nintendo. Turning passion into profession, he’s spent just over a decade in game development, and is currently the Creative Director at a studio.