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Official Review: TNT Racers

Another day, another review! This time, we have TNT Racers, a great game that was released in the UK for PSN and PSP (difference? One has trophies and is on a console, the other is on a portable and is a bit less expensive) and that is available now on PSP in the US (soon to be available on PSN as well). To start things off, here’s a video that should give you an idea of what to expect from the game. You can also read our last post about TNT Racers if you want to see what the publisher has to say about the game:

As you can see from the video above this paragraph set before you, TNT Racers is a 3/4 top down perspective racing game (I know, the title must have thrown you off at first and you were expecting an action/adventure game, right? Must be the TNT). Up to four players can participate at all times, and the game decides that it’s best to contain all the action and hijinks in a single screen at all times… and I’ve got to say, it works. It REALLY works.

TNT Racers has several game modes available for your fun; the biggest one being the Single Player and its Challenges. Challenges are small levels with a specific set of rules and goals and you begin with a couple of tutorial levels to get the hang of things before you fully dive in and start your new car racing career. These can take anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the type of race you’re taking on, as well as your skills, which makes the game the perfect “pick-up and play” experience for those moments when you’ve got some time to sit down for a burst gaming session. You start of with Normal speed and, once all 15 challenges for said speed are completed, move on to Fast, repeat the same requirements set beforehand, and then move on to Turbo… and Turbo is faster than Fast and waaaaaaaaay faster than Normal. Go figure!

What are these race types I speak off? Glad you asked! We have the following selection for your entertainment:

  • Knockout: Four cars enter. Only one car leaves as number 1! Whoever is left behind (screen follows the leader of the pack) gets nothing, next one to go gets a point, next one gets two points and the round winner is given three whole points. Reach the required amount of points before your opponents and you win!
  • Score: Whoever has the most points wins. It can either be “reach X amount of points before everyone else” or go into a “score more points than your opponents before all laps are completed or the time is over.”
  • Lap: Finish X number of laps before your time runs out. Must be some meta thing about how we, as members of our species, are always racing to reach our goals before the end reaches us.
  • Smash: Destroy the number of objects required from you. These objects are set all over the track and are just asking to be shattered to pieces. Yep, that cactus DID look at you in a funny way.

In knockout and score, once a car is left behind, it turns into a shadow, which allows it to still be part of the race… but only to screw around with those that are still in the tangible plane of existence. How do you do that? With power-ups! You get these by running into question marks (and a toolbox), and can access a special set of 3 power-ups ONLY when you’re in shadow mode (those have been marked of in bold). The full list is as follows:

[spoiler intro=”TNT Racers” title=”The Power-Ups”]

– Candy Cannon: Once you know what this power-up is called you start to realize that maybe the cars are actually toy cars running around very elaborate sets. Get it and try to destroy the other cars with your mighty sugar coated wonders!

– Monster Car: Now you too can become bigger with just one dose! Use this power up to immediately grow in size thus creating a shockwave that will make cars near you shoot out in the opposite direction from which said impulse originated. Know when it’s fun to use it? Close to cliffs or ramps!

– Speed Booster: It’s a special turbo engine that allows you to soar past your competitors. Hold the button for a constant boost or hit it sporadically to get more speed before that curve down the road.

– Oil Gun: Oil spills are always bad and in TNT Racers they are no different. You’ve got three loads in your gun and can place them anywhere you want. Work best around tight corners or near water, the ever present nemesis of all citizens from the gaming universe!

– Confetti Mines: Going back to the “toys and fun” theme, you can drop some mines around the track and then hilariously see how your enemies blow up! BUT if you do a lap and come back to the spot you dropped it at… well, karma might pay you a visit.

– Smoker: What would be a great way to make the other cars fall behind you and FAST? Well, how about dropping a huuuuuge smoke screen behind you so they can’t see where exactly they’re driving and, in consequence thereof, crash into a wall.

-Time Machine: Hit the button to make everything go cartoon fast for a couple of seconds which is enough to make your opponents go way out of the track.. and then hit it again to suddenly make time go back to normal JUST as they had started to get the hang of it. Priceless!

– Space Rocket: So you’ve got this huge rocket that can do some serious damage to your opponent. Should you use it ASAP or wait a bit so one of the cars is already one step away from the scrapyard so you can do them the favor of ending such torment? Well, as long as you wait until the cross-hair is locked onto one of the cars, who cares?

– Heavy Cargo: For those times when you’re ALMOST left behind by the screen, fire this crossbow so the suction cup on it’s end gets stuck to a car and drags them back thanks to the Ton of fun attached to it. Miracles do happen!

– Repair Kit: There are times when sparkles are flying out of your car and you figure “maybe it’s time to make some changes in my life”. In case you’re in that specific situation, grab a Repair kit (the only power-up that you know you’ll get since the box is out there in all it’s red glory for you to run over) and see how all the damages and the worries in your life banish without a trace… until you run into the three confetti mines up ahead, drift thanks to the oil left on the road and realize you can’t swim.

– Speed Distuptor: Your best friend while in Shadow Mode and a huge headache for those still in the race. This weapon locks onto the closest competitor and once fired you can hit the breaks and make the other car slow down to a complete stop. Need another round to make a comback in Knockout mode? Just slow down the guy that is closest to the points total!

– Giant Hammer: You hit the ground with the hammer and see how everyone else just skips a beat and slides away… possibly to their doom! So, to sum it up: Big hammer hits ground, quake follows. Car slide away. Cars are damaged. Cars might go bye-bye!

– Star Twister: Wind is a great renewable energy source that could be part of lives in the near future since it provides a healthy alternative to energy obtained from burning fossils (gas, gasoline, etc.)… but in this game all it will be used for is to create nerve wreaking twisters that will send you flying, slow you down and make you fall behind in the race.[/spoiler]

With all that out of the way, let’s talk about the other modes available for you that complement the main one:.

  • Time Trial: This mode allows you to try and lower the time it takes you to do a full lap on any of the tracks you’ve unlocked. Once you’re satisfied with your new time, just exit the track and your best effort will be saved and uploaded to the leaderboards. This is great for those that want to constantly improve in life, but for the rest of us, it’s a small diversion. Nice to have it as an extra.
  • Multiplayer: There’s good news and there’s bad news. Local multiplayer is a blast, and nothing beats having several of your close friends/acquaintances shouting at each other over that strategically placed mine before someone else decides to deploy the Giant Hammer; it really adds to the value of the game. Now for the bad news: the online multiplayer is pretty much DOA. I couldn’t find a single match in a full week and I tried at different times just to make sure it wasn’t a problem on my side. It would seem that the game hasn’t sold enough copies and thus, until it does, it’s online-enabled community will have to wait for its turn.
  • Custom Races: You can create a race that feels just right for you thanks to this mode, which allows you to choose the track, race type, speed, etc.

Winning races allows you to unlock several cars and tracks to increase your time with the game. Cars come in different shapes and sizes, and this affects the way they handle on the road, since a smaller car might be able to cut that corner easily between two cars, but a bigger car would come very handy when you want to crash into opponents and bring them closer to the edge. As for the tracks, you get new ones as well as reverse versions of every single track, which makes you reevaluate how to tackle what used to be a well known road. That ramp that helped you jump over the car in front of you? Well, it’s now a barrier so you better watch out!

TNT Racers is a very fun game that should find it’s way into your PS3 HDD (in a legal manner) since it will provide you with many hours of racing entertainment. Once the online community grows and matchmaking is easier to accomplish, you will definitely get more bang for your buck, but in the meantime, what IS there is worth the price of admission.

[review pros=”Fun and Fast Paced
Lots of Power-Ups and Race Modes
Good Price” cons=”Online community isn’t there yet” score=80]

Published by dtp entertaintment AG
Developed by keen games

Cost – £7.99 (UK only at the moment. Will launch in the US in a couple of weeks)

Available on PSN


– All challenges were completed and all trophies (except those for online races) were obtained.

– Total amount of time played: 11 hours.

– This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of TNT Racers provided by keen games.

*About dtp entertainment AG*

dtp entertainment is one of the leading German publishers, developers and distributors in the entertainment software industry. The company is based in Hamburg and employs over 180 staff. dtp entertainment develops and publishes entertainment software for all interactive entertainment platforms and distributes these via all channels in the market, and also worldwide through a network of partners.

*About keen games***

keen games is one of the leading independent video game developers in Germany. The Frankfurt based company is run by veterans of game development having successfully developed games for over 18 years. With keen games proprietary Multi-Platform Engine & Tools the company has developed games for nearly all past and all current generation consoles and platforms. The award winning games created by keen games stand out for their high accessibility and their deep gameplay.