Who knew tiny robots racing asynchronously could be so much fun?
I was, to say the least, unfamiliar with the concept of ‘asynchronous’ gameplay before I sat down to play Top Bot from Rally Games. I’m not really a ‘racing game’ kind of guy to begin with either, and I couldn’t imagine how there could be anything asynchronous about playing one.
Oh how I was wrong though. Top Bot is a multiplayer racing game where you can match up with six of your pals (or complete strangers) in a jet-powered, robo-race to the finish. All this six way asynchronous multiplayer might sound a little complex – but that’s as far from the truth as you can get.
Top Bot is simple and very easy to play with only one virtual button to press (actually you just tap and hold anywhere on the screen) to make your bot fly- and releasing the button drops the little guy down. Playing through a race basically feels like a side-scroller only you’re floating instead of walking and jumping.
Along the way, you’ll pick up different power-ups including invincibility and extra speed. You can start the race with one of these enhancers and unlock more using the in game currency system. It’s a nice variation and affects play much the same way that the classic Mario Kart power-ups do.
In keeping with the Mario Kart/cartoony theme, Top Bot has a real Saturday morning cartoon look to it too. The animation, level and character designs are all pretty simple in that way and recall the classic toons from days gone by. The look is more than a little vintage and that’s kind of the beauty of it.
The star of the show though, is the asynchronous racing. Traversing a level is all fine and dandy, but you’re racing remember? And that means that you’re playing for time as well as just to get past the obstacles and complete the ‘stage’.
Since the game doesn’t have you racing at the same time as your competition, you’ll be challenging ghosts and competing for time against them. That might sound like it takes some of the fun out of competitive racing, but it’s actually the opposite. Not knowing in the least (and knowing that what the ‘ghost’ is doing already happened) actually adds to the excitement and gives the races a more ‘anything can happen’ feel than other titles I’ve played.
I was really surprised by how much fun I had with Top Bot. It might be a casual racer, but it has more than enough oomph to keep players occupied when it counts.
This little racer runs heavy with customization options too (you can create tons of different robots to race with) and has some extremely well tuned controls. The idea of synching up with other players while you’re all not around to play is a great one too- and (most importantly) it works flawlessly in Top Bot.
No, this isn’t a big blockbuster that’s going to set the world on fire or redefine mobile gaming, but it is a free to play title (with some in App purchases) that will more than keep you asynchronously playing for a long time to come.