TNT Racers is a little hard to describe, it’s not exactly a racing game, but not strictly an arcade game at the same time. The best way I can describe it is as a kart racing game from an overhead view.

In TNT Racers you control your car from a top down perspective and are racing against up to three other cars. Although, much of the game has you racing on your own, because of time trials.

Each race has a different spin on what you have to do, there are time trials where you need to complete a lap or laps under the time limit and then there are other straight up races against opponents.  These other races are played in either knock out mode or point mode.

TNT Racers PSN Screenshot 9

Knock out mode tasks you with knocking your opponents out of the race and into “shadows”. In the races, the camera pans to the lead car and if your car lags behind and goes off of the camera you will be taken out of the race and turned into a shadow. Shadows can still interfere with other racers with special power-ups, but you can’t win that round or gather as many points.

Knock out mode makes you knock out your opponents to win rounds, and whoever wins that round gets the most points with each subsequent racer getting less points. In point mode, you have to compile the most points in a time limit or a number of laps. Everything earns you points, staying in the lead, using power ups, or collecting coins scattered around the tracks. There are minor variations that come up on these game modes throughout, but this is basically how each race will play out.

The main content of the game plays out through single player challenges that you play through. There are normal challenges, fast challenges, and turbo challenges.  The difficulty in each of these categories obviously ramps up as you go along.  Each category comes with over 10 challenges each, making the game about an hour and a half to two hours long with just the challenges.

The only problem I experienced is that you have to advance in challenges one by one. You don’t get to choose which challenge you want to do, you have to unlock each one by playing the previous one. So if you get stuck on one challenge you’re really out of luck until you can beat it. Fortunately, you can also just undertake time trials or make custom races. There is also online and local multiplayer, but it’s incredibly difficult to find a match online at this point.

The controls for TNT Racers work pretty well and they are incredibly simple. You use the triggers to control the gas and brake for your car, and use the X button to activate power ups; you steer with either the D-pad or left analog stick. The controls overall work pretty well, once you get used to them, but the insane drift that all the vehicles have take just a bit to get used to. Power ups are nicely varied and have some good effects. One lets you drop bombs on the track while another gives you a boost and another might let you launch a missile at another car. The power-ups are really what make the game a lot of fun beyond just the regular racing.

TNT Racers is done in a cartoony kind of graphical style. Overall it’s not incredibly eye catching and doesn’t stand out all that much, but it does have a certain kind of charm to it. The power ups are animated well and the game runs smoothly throughout.

TNT Racers PSN Screenshot 6

The music of TNT Racers on the other hand is not great. There are really only a few tracks to be heard in the game and while those are good, it becomes monotonous really quick. The few tracks that are in the game though, sound like something that would be right at home in a Pixar movie.

TNT Racers is a strange game; it’s definitely not for people looking for a great racing experience, but as a downloadable, arcade game it functions well. It can be a lot of fun, especially if you have other people to play it with and at $10 it’s not too expensive. The game can be a lot of fun, it’s just unfortunate that absolutely no one is playing the game online. It’s in sore need of a track editor as well. But in the end it’s a fun game that’s worth a shot if you want a little bit of a different take on a kart racer.

TNT Racers Logo
Title : TNT Racers
Format : PSN (Also on XBLA)
Developer : Keen Games
Publisher : dtp Entertainment AG
Release Date : 01/03/12 (PSN) / 02/09/11 (XBLA)

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*dtp Entertainment AG provided with a promo code for a review copy.