It's really hard to say "top-down racers" without referencing Micro-Machines, but Keen Games and DTP Entertainment's downloadable racer, TNT Racers, shares more in common with Mario Kart than the classic Mega Drive table-top grand prix series. The concept's fairly straight-forward: you race against three other chunky-looking cars either in single-player or local/online multiplayer with the primary objective of knocking them off the screen. Succeed and, regardless of the game-type, you'll usually win. TNT Racers is less about finishing first, and more about acting like first-class jerk instead.
TNT Racers has got a trick up its sleeve though. Should you succumb to your irritating bessie's feckless ability to drop mines just in the right place, there's still plenty of room for justice to be served. TNT Racers' rather-cool shadow mode puts spurned racers back on the track, armed with the tools required to put a sock in your mates' prematurely triumphant gob. Super satisfying stuff.
For a PlayStation Network release, TNT Racers is pretty favourably stacked. There are 18 tracks and wide variety of rules and race types. The tracks can look a bit plain, but a good vibrant art-style helps bring the action to life. There are bunch of weapons to unlock too, some of which are pretty darn imaginative. The plunger attacks an exaggerated weight to your opponent's car, while the oil-slick affects handling.
It's all super fun in local multiplayer, but a sparse community means the online component's lacking. It's a shame too, because it's not necessarily the fault of the game that is hasn't managed to capture an audience. We'd love to tell you more, but despite multiple attempts we're still yet to find an opponent. While TNT Racers checks all the boxes, it's pretty pointless if the community is not available to support it. If you're interested in TNT Racers, make sure you've got a couple of buddies available for pre-pub entertainment.
And that's really where TNT Racers is at its best anyway. Matches are short, fun and replayable, and the whole package is buoyed by a jolly soundtrack that fits the tone of the title perfectly.
It's not going to pull you away from your traditional gaming beats, but if the oppresive grit of Killzone 3's hard-hitting campaign is getting you down, there is a retreat and it involves silly cars and even sillier power-ups.