Table Top racing is a Micro Machines style racing game on Android, created by people that actually worked on the Wipeout series. It’s also available on the Apple App Store, but I don’t really care about that. What I do care is that we seemingly have a fun little racer on the Play Store, which is free and feels like an actual, proper racing game.
Full disclosure, I played Table Top Racing a few weeks ago. I actually played it extensively over the course of a week and a half or so and then stopped playing altogether for some reason. As I’m putting the last touch-ups on this report, I turned it on again to see how it holds up after some time has passed.
First, though, let me describe where I’m at with the game.
There are four racing cup championships in Table Top Racing, each with a multitude of events. The first place in each events nets you 3 stars, the second 2 and the final one star. This goes for any other event in the game. I’ve fully beaten the first two cups, won the third but haven’t won all the stars, and barely scratched the surface of the final cup.
The game has gotten progressively more difficult with each cup, but gets easier as you upgrade your car.
Other than the four cups, there are two difficulties of drift events, but to play them, you need a special car – the Tokyo Zero, which you can buy for in-game currency. There are 24 drift events in total – the difficulties are separate sets of events. I didn’t get the car yet, so I haven’t won any of these.
There are also special events. These are split into four difficulties – Rookie, Amateur, Pro and Expert. Some require specific cars to win, which actually increases the coin earning demand, since you’d probably skip over some of these cars otherwise. There are 48 special events in total – as with drifts, each difficulty is a different set of events. I got first place (3 stars) on 9 of these and second place (2 stars) on one of them.
Lastly, there’s the quick race, which can be repeated as many time as you want and probably becomes the main, if not the only source of income later. You pick a track and race type and you drive.
In the car department, there are 17 cars and I have 5. Each can be upgraded and I have fully upgraded 3 of them. You don’t pick which upgrades you buy – it’s just a steady progression of a higher and higher cost for each next upgrade. One stat point costs 400 coins, so each next upgrade level is that much more expensive. Since cars usually have a bunch of stats in different categories that they start with, the first upgrade usually costs a couple of thousand coins.
So that’s my progress. In order to get to that progress, I did some science!
I collected data. A big part of it is approximated. A bigger part of it is missing. After a bunch of hours playing this game, though, we should be able to draw out some conclusions.
Coins earned for victory per difficulty
Expert difficulty not tested yet…
Lap time and earning rate per minute per track
|Moonlight Junk Heap||20||700||960||840|
|Toyr R’ Asleep||27||518||622||622|
|Rusty Nuts Workshop||30||466||560||560|
|Night Time Noodles Reverse||28||500||600||600|
|Toys R’ You||38||368||442||442|
Note that most of this data was at first taken by playing through with a moderately upgraded NamGang 4×4, then just rounded to the nearest nice-looking value. Science! The Pro difficulty data was taken with The Cluster Truck and the Treemaster CO2.
From this data, I have made several conclusions:
- Teppanyaki Go-Go is miles ahead of any other track when it comes to earning rate.
- In the early game, Rookie difficulty is the fastest. It might seem like Amateur is better, but I only started consistently wining amateur races once I bought the 5600 coin upgrade for the NamGang 4×4. Even with a fully upgraded car, I still sometimes didn’t win.
- Once Amateur can be consistently beaten, which is achieved with The Cluster Truck, it takes over as the best source of income.
- Sadly, Pro difficulty doesn’t look like it comes with an improvement to earning rate. More on that in a separate section.
What about track shortcuts?
I think all tracks have significant shortucts, but I’m not sure. What I am sure is that you aren’t supposed to use some of them from the start. You’re supposed to buy the Boing Wheels upgrade, which can then be used to access a few of the shortcuts.
For instance, there’s a part where you jump over a knife blade on Teppanyaki Go-Go. Without the Boing Wheels, you have a chance of going through, but more often, you’ll end up smashing in the blade and wasting time. Turbo Boost sometimes helps to get through, but it’s still very unreliable. With the wheels, it’s as simple as jumping over the blade.
Is the earning rate realistic, or is it IAP oriented?
I won’t go with any absolute claims here. Instead, I’ll give you this…
I haven’t beaten anything on the Expert difficulty yet. What I’m absolutely sure of is that with a fully upgraded Treemaster CO2, which I bought for 30,000 coins, I’m able to consistently beat the Amateur difficulty. Pro, I also beat for the most part, but I lose sometimes.
Since it’s a straight increase in both the reward and number of laps from Amateur to Pro, there is no point in moving up to the higher difficulty. Maybe Expert would provide a significantly better earning rate of coins, but for a big part of the game, it looks like by far the fastest way to earn coins is to Quick Race on Teppanyaki Go-Go Reverse on Amateur difficulty. Why reverse? Because you avoid some tricky obstacles that way and improve your odds of not completely messing up.
In theory, racing on this track earns you slightly above 1120 coins in under a minute. In practice, there are loading times that need to be taken into account and there are bonus coins for hitting enemies with weapons.
I timed myself and raced as fast as I could for ten minutes. I just barely managed to squeeze in one last race by the time the time ran out and I earned 9,355 coins. Let’s be generous and boost the earning rate at 10,000 coins in 10 minutes, to make it a nice, round 60,000 coins in an hour.
At the point I am in the game, it can get extremely annoying and difficult to win the cup races or special events I have left without any additional upgrades. It seems doable, but the other cars are very clearly faster, so the only way to do it is to get lucky with pickups and make almost no mistakes on any of the turns, even the ones that are the trickiest.
But let’s forget about that. Considering the above earning rate, let’s see how long it takes to unlock and upgrade the drift car…
It will take one hour and 40 minutes of racing Teppanyaki Go-Go in order to earn the 100,000. Since Tokyo Zero starts with 12 stat points, the first upgrade will cost 13 times 400 coins, which is 5200. There will be 8 upgrades in total so we add up 5200, 5600, 6000, 6400, 6800, 7200, 7600 and 8000. That’s another 52,600 points to upgrade it completely, or an extra 52 minutes. So it will take 2 and a half hours to buy and fully upgrade the Tokyo Zero.
Now let’s look at the situation with the strongest normal racing car in the game – Bagetti Carb Injection (I’m loving the names!). It costs 150,000, so 2 hours and 30 minutes just to unlock it. It starts with the same amount of stats, but has one extra maximum stat, so we add another 8400 points to the cost of upgrading the Tokyo Zero, coming up with 61,000 or 61 minutes to upgrade it. Just to keep it rounded, we end up with 3 and a half hours to buy and upgrade the strongest car in the game.
Just for the sake of argument, I went out and took a look at how long it would take for a completionist to be done with this game. Keep in mind, this is the fastest and probably the most tedious method – playing the same shortest track over and over again.
Time it takes to buy all the cars
|Car||Cost||Minutes to buy|
|Whippy Kai Yay!||Free||N/A|
|The Cluster Truck||Unlockable||N/A|
|Rally’s Cool ’71||Unlockable||N/A|
|Bagetti Carb Injection||150000||150|
Total time needed to buy all the cars (not including time needed to unlocking the unlockable ones amounts to 735 minutes or about 12 and a half hours.
|Car||Starting stats||Max stats||Cost to upgrade||Time to upgrade|
|Whippy Kai Yay!||4||15||44000||44|
|The Cluster Truck||11||19||49600||49,6|
|Rally’s Cool ’71||13||20||47600||47,6|
|Bagetti Carb Injection||12||21||61200||61,2|
The total time needed to upgrade all the cars is about 936 minutes, or about 15 and a half hours. The reality is, the actual time will be much higher than that.
Keep in mind that I’ve already upgraded the NamGang 4×4 and The Cluster Truck, so I don’t really know what the starting stats were and how much the actual cost of upgrading them is. Thanks to 성우 홍, I now know the starting stats for NamGang 4×4 and The Cluster Truck, so the pricing list is as accurate as I can make it.
In total, this means 28 and a half hours required to buy and upgrade all the cars at the current rate of earning coins. But that’s not all. We also have wheel upgrades, which you buy once and are then able to apply to all the cars.
|Wheels||Cost||Time to earn|
For the wheels, we total at 225 minutes or 3.75 hours.
Finally, there are purchasable paints for each car. They vary in cost and don’t really do anything, so I’m not taking them into account. You can safely add about 20 extra minutes per car for that, which is then, shall we say, six extra hours, I think.
The grand total without the paints is about 32 hours. With the paints, it’s 38 hours. That’s 38 hours of driving the exact same race over and over again in order to buy everything. To be able to buy everything, you need about 2.5 million coins. The values for in-app purchases are $9,74 for one million, or $20,91 for 5 million, so this is where you get shafted a bit if you’re considering paying actual money. I’m not considering it for a moment, but I guess that information should be out there.
Just for the sake of entertaining the thought, to earn 5 million coins in-game, you’d have to play the same track for over 80 hours. At the cost of those coins, you’d basically be working for 25 cents an hour. Unless you think it would be fun to play the same race basically 5000 times for 4 laps each.
So what’s the conclusion?
Is it fun for you? That’s all that matters. Table Top racing was fun for me early on. The upgrades were getting to me quickly, I was winning often enough and there was very little frustration.
With the fourth cup, everyone has wheel upgrades now. The track quickly becomes crowded and the only way to reliably win is to take the first place as early as possible and then pick up every item on the path the AI usually takes along the track. If you do that, the odds are good they won’t be able to overtake you. They’ll be able to catch up, mind you, because I’m almost positive the AI uses that they’re always breathing down your neck trick a lot of racers use to keep things interesting (relatively speaking).
What all of this means is that the average race quickly becomes frustrating for me. As I’m writing down all this date, it’s also becoming apparent that it might not get much less frustrating one and if I buy and upgrade a stronger car. If maximum stats are any indicators, the more expensive cars are only marginally stronger.
Basically, the game is slowly getting more frustrating for me, but I still get an itch sometimes. I might push through to at least finish top 3 on the last cup, but I won’t be going much further than that. I’ll probably keep in installed on my Archos, though. It’s a great game to show off to your less gamey friends and it can be fun to complete a race or two every now and then. I just dislike having too much grinding.
Your mileage may vary, of course. I stopped having as much fun as I did early on with Table Top Racing, but someone else might keep at it for longer than me. As I said, it takes about 30-34 hours to collect it all. If the game is fun for those 30-34 hours to someone else, that’s great for them. I just don’t think it will be for me. It was for about 10 or so hours, though, and it might for a few more. For a game that was free, that’s a pretty awesome deal.
Honestly, to me it feels like Table Top Racing is slightly leaning towards IAP. Again, your mileage may vary, but I find it difficult to argue against that claim. Then again, maybe it’s just the fact that there’s a value indirectly assigned to my time spent playing with IAP-enabled games that makes me feel this way. Thinking back, I don’t remember Gran Turismo being orders of magnitude better with car and upgrade prices. It just felt better and less Skinner-boxy for some reason.
I keep feeling like I’m being too negative here. Table Top racing is a proper game. It has plenty of content, it takes some skill, it has difficulty and it has mostly proper rewards. It’s just that in some areas, it feels like it isn’t all there. The rewards are very so slightly too stingy, pushing you ever so slightly towards paying.
The races are ever so slightly too crowded and too random. They feel unfair at times, but the feeling of satisfaction of beating a race is there and that itch to try just one more time is definitely there. It’s a good game, just not an amazing one. I’m feeling it right now. I’ve been trying to get the gold in a time attack race in the third cup and I’ve been leaving the keyboard several times as I was typing this out until I’ve finally beaten it with a clever use of shortcuts and it feels great.
I’d even consider a single IAP purchase (the cheapest one), since it removes the advertisement popups you get on screen transitions every now and then. That being said, it’s really non-obtrusive advertisement. You can quickly dismiss it and move on. Still, it’s a nice gesture to remove the adds as soon as you give the devs any amount of money, no matter how small (within the realm of IAPs offered, of course). Something to add for those without a mobile contract on their phone or tablet – if you aren’t online, the adds don’t bother you at all.
Performance on my Archos Gamepad
It runs smoothly, but there are some issues. After longer periods of play, every 30-40 minutes or so, it starts to stutter for some reason. At that point, the controller emulation usually locks up, so I end up crashing a wall or something, which can add to the frustration further. Overall, though, it’s easy to set up and with basically four different buttons (left, right, activate item, activate wheel), it’s quick and easy to set-up.
성우 홍 has a few things to say
Be sure to check out the featured comment(s). 성우 홍 is the first person to add some in-depth knowledge I don’t have, but if anyone else decided to share, I’ll be sure to feature their comment.
성우 홍 in particular has some alternate strategies for earning coins.
성우 홍 has a few more things to say
성우 홍’s knowledge about the game is much deeper than my own, so make sure you read his comments. Here are a few things he added:
There’s a save-deleting glitch in Table Top Racing
If you pick a paint on the painting screen and then jump to the IAP menu, the game might glitch out and delete your save. Best not to access the IAP screen from the painting menu at all.
Bling Wheels or Jump Wheels are recommended for some advanced grinding. Having one of these equipped can shave off some time off of some of the tracks.
- Midnight Junk Heap-15s(Venom)
- Midnight Junk Heap Reversed- 30s(Venom)
- Teppanyakki Go-Go-12s(Venom)
- Teppanyakki Go-Go Reversed- Same as forward
- Firefly BBQ- 29s(Rally’s Cool)
- Firefly BBQ Reversed- Same as forward
- Toys’ R Asleep- 12s(Venom w/t Jump wheels)
- Toys’ R Asleep Reversed- 24s(Venom)
- Beach Buggies- 17s(Tokyo Zero)
- Beach Buggies Reversed- 15s(Tokyo Zero)
- Rusty Nuts Workshop- 20s(Venom)
- Rusty Nuts Workshop Reversed- 13(Whippy Kai Yay!)”Disclaimer- No upgrades, jump wheels rarely used. Tested on Time Trials.”
- Night Time Noodles-20s(Venom)
- Night Time Noodles Reversed- Same as forward
- Toys ‘R You- 25s(Tokyo Zero)
- Toys’ R You Reversed- Same as forward
Some of his favorites
- Venom with Toys’ R Asleep forward- This is my main money source after I bought jump wheels. I usually grind at Expert levels despite the low increment of coins. In some occasions I even overtake 2nd place racer to a lap!
- Tokyo Zero with Beach Buggies reversed- This is my second money source. But as the first option is OP, I hardly use this option now.
- Hippy Bathday with Rusty Nuts Workshop Reversed- My third, last but not least choice. This is purely driven for fun and style. Still, Expert difficulty.
I am in need of a new weapon wheel as I am lazy and hardly grind coins on Table Top Racing now. I did not completed the game as I did not unlock some special missions that require the Treemaster CO2(I do not have that at all), Veloceratti P1, Pantera GT, and many others beyond Whippy Kai Yay!, Hippy Bathday, cars that requires cups to be unlocked, Tokyo Zero and Venom. Currently at Level 69.