Micro Machines World Series Review

Richard Walker

Never underestimate the power of nostalgia. It's the reason that remasters of bygone classics have become increasingly popular over the years, and it's presumably the reason that Codemasters has resurrected one of its most beloved old-school classics: Micro Machines. About as definitive a take on the series you could hope for, Micro Machines World Series has all of the best bits you remember fondly from the game's Mega Drive era, but strips out a lot of what made the series truly great.

Primarily an online multiplayer affair, the main thing conspicuously absent from Micro Machines World Series is a career mode or single-player tournament of some sort. You can play against AI opponents if you like, although you can't beat the satisfaction of going up against other human players online or locally. Nonetheless, some sort of simple career mode would have made this new Micro Machines seem a little more substantial, because as it is, the game is somewhat light on content.

There's a different kind of pool table hustle going on here.

Granted, 25 tracks isn't a small number, and they cover almost all of the classic Micro Machines locations, from kitchen tabletops and gas hobs to pool tables, workbenches, outdoor gardens and others. The game features only a dozen vehicles too, albeit with a wealth of customisation options to unlock. But as a veteran of the series, I can remember beaches and treehouses among the variety of environments, as well as planes, helicopters, speedboats and numerous other vehicles types. Broadly speaking, these are mostly catered for, and it seems a tad churlish to complain when everything has clearly been crafted as a labour of love.

And that's really the most important thing about Micro Machines World Series. It successfully conjures that fuzzy feeling of nostalgia, its dinky vehicles all lovingly rendered while every environment possesses a tactile quality packed with incidental detail. No, wait. The most important thing about Micro Machines World Series is that it's fun; exactly as fun as you remember it being on the Mega Drive all those years ago, if you happened to be around back then.

While Micro Machines V3 on the first PlayStation is closer to World Series in terms of gameplay, in spirit, it clearly aims to bring back memories of Micro Machines 2 and Micro Machines '96, with the original character portraits from those games present and correct. Spider, Cherry, Jethro, Davey, Violet and the gang are all here, injecting a little extra retro charm into the game. There's no faulting the handling too, making anyone familiar with the originals feel right at home. It's spot on, from a gameplay standpoint.

Essentially, the game's biggest downside is its lack of modes. Battle mode is the only new addition, dropping players into arenas where they can blast one another into oblivion, while participating in objectives like King of the Hill, capture the flag or fighting over a bomb to deliver to the opposition's base. Its online offering is fairly scant, however, with only a paltry three modes - Battle, Race or Elimination - to choose from, the latter being Micro Machines' most recognisable mode.

There are other problems too, like being unable to switch off the game's Nerf-branded weaponry, which includes bombs, Nerf blasters and sledgehammers, in the game's online modes. That means there's simply no option to engage in pure Micro Machines racing online, which is a huge oversight. Would it really have been that difficult to include an option to switch power-ups off, especially given that there's the option to do so in local multiplayer? Online is prone to bugs too, with picked up weapons sometimes appearing after a delay, or lag rearing its head to ruin the party.

The arena-based Battle mode is a neat, suitably manic new addition.

Micro Machines World Series proves something of a letdown that doesn't really lend itself to prolonged play. It takes an age to level up too, so much so that by the time you've hit level 10 and unlocked Ranked Events (the next season of which starts in 90 days), you'll have likely had enough. Rope in a bunch of friends, and it's a different story, local play for up to 4 players a welcome reminder as to why Micro Machines was always the go-to multiplayer title back in the day. But if you're expecting a gratifying solo experience, forget it. You simply won't find one.

The game's achievements aren't all that good either, most attained through blowing enemies up in a variety of ways in the Battle arena or collecting customisation items by levelling up and unlocking loot boxes. Levelling up is so painfully, glacially slow that you'll have to engage in hundreds of races and put in countless hours if you want to earn the achievement for gaining Prestige. The likelihood of you persevering long enough to do so is highly unlikely.

On one hand, Micro Machines World Series is a welcome return for a classic series that's still every bit as fun and playable as it ever was, while on the other hand, the dearth of content leaves a skidmark on the whole thing. The lack of a single-player campaign or other solo offline options is criminal in this day and age, while the core online experience is severely lacking. The saving grace is that Micro Machines World Series is enjoyable in spite of its shortcomings, but unfortunately, there's just no real longevity to be had here.

Micro Machines World Series

Great fun in the short term, Micro Machines World Series just doesn't have the legs to be something you'll return to again and again. The nostalgic pull might be strong, but unless you have friends prepared to regularly play it with you, it's unlikely you'll get swept up in Micro Machines World Series for more than a few hours.

Form widget

Jaunty music and the booming voice of Brian Blessed makes for the perfect aural complement to all of the mini racing shenanigans.


Colourful and chunky, exactly as a new Micro Machines game should look. All of the game's environments and vehicles look fantastic.


Great fun and almost exactly as you remember Micro Machines twenty-odd years ago, with shortcuts to find and obstacles to overcome. Online has its issues, but overall World Series is a blast to play...


...which is why it's a shame there's so little content on offer here. Three core online modes, offline racing against friends or AI, weekly Special Events, Ranked play, and that's it. A lack of options puts a dampener on an otherwise fun package.


A disappointing achievement list that's disproportionately weighted towards Battle mode, as well as levelling up and grinding. Boring.

Game navigation