At first glance, you may think that Circuit Superstars is nothing more than a more down to earth — er, down to asphalt — take on the classic Micro Machines. And you couldn't be, simultaneously, more/less right and/or wrong. Confused? So were we. Wired to play games like RC Pro-Am as arcadey, loose-feeling titles, we were surprised to find a vroom-'em-up of surprisingly sim-level depth and challenge.

It'll strike you immediately, the instant you jump into your first race. You can't just fling these cars around the many tracks, you have to actually drive them. There's weight, subtlety, nuance to these vehicles. And that's compounded by robust and rewarding difficulty that demands discipline, consistency, and skill to make sure you don't get left in the dust. You'll need to account for pit stops and the degradation of your wheels even in the short, snappy races that Circuit Superstars has to offer. No Sunday drivers welcome here.

It all looks great, too — stylised and cartoonish in a way that would come close to causing a mental disconnect with the complexity of its handling if it didn't fit together so nicely. There's something a bit zen about nailing a perfect drift or sticking a great racing line that sees you advance toward pole position. When you've got to work so hard for your wins, they feel particularly good to achieve.

A brilliant first effort from Original Fire Games, then, and a racing game rather unlike anything else out there on the virtual shelves. This intoxicating, content-rich, and yet fascinatingly accessible racer is liable to get its hooks into gamers looking for something a little less knockabout. You may struggle to get the hang of things at first but we promise this little journey through racing history gives as good as it gets.