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All in all, TOW is a good racing title that at higher difficulty settings, will present a challenge to the more experience cart-race gamer, and at the same time is accessible to the more casual player. Its playful theme and
fun settings will appeal to most players, and its a great game to crack out for a bit of competition. Buy Things On Wheels and get those toys moving!
The gameplay is fast and fun on some tracks and confusing on others because there doesn’t appear to be a clear direction until you eventually find a bumper, but it is one of the elements that make the game quite challenging, because you can’t expect to win every time! This would definitely appeal to ‘Mad Tracks’ lovers as it feels like a natural sequel, but in general you can make this game as fun as you want by bringing in some online friends and using the Race Rules to suit required gameplay. Only then it can rival some of the best arcade-style kart racers. For 800 Microsoft Points, you definitely get more than your money’s worth.
With a few tweaks, Things on Wheels might have been up to seizing the mantle from Re-Volt. Stylish cars, creative tracks that loop through a mansion's every nook and cranny, and a sense of speed powerful enough to make your head spin are certainly great building blocks that could have been used as the foundation for an exciting arcade racer. But there are just too many nuisances with track design and the driver AI, which just lead to much more frustration than fun.
The world in Things on Wheels is populated by a number of power-ups (like nitro boosters and an ability that freezes nearby vehicle tires, disabling traction) but none make the already bland gameplay any more interesting. While many maps have some great design choices, Things on Wheels feels like a dated and out of place title that may have been more accepted in the earlier stages of Microsoft's Arcade platform.
Nothing about Things on Wheels is very good. The single-player mode is boring, the game looks like it was supposed to come out years ago (which it was), and the attempt at a story is poorly implemented and even more poorly written. The appeal of getting a fun, short, cheap kart racer is never realized. You're better off just springing for one of the full-fledged retail racers.
If you think you can hack it and are a racing god, then you and a handful of others may find Things on Wheels appealing, but not I. For 80 percent of you out there I say, as the A.I. will do to you repeatedly in the game...pass this by.