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Micro Machines V4

Dubious AI lets the single-player game down, but multiplayer is good, old-school fun

This game should come with some sort of big bright sticker on the box to warn of the danger it poses to you and to others, and maybe a flashing red light you could wear on your head. That way people could see you were liable to explode with fury at any second and sit somewhere else when they get on your bus.

Micro Machines v4 will make you so angry you'll simply have to take a breather now and again just to prevent blood from spurting out of your ears. Seeing your little car being rammed off a precarious track by the frankly vicious computer-controlled rivals will make you more hot-headed than Wayne Rooney sleeping off a hangover on a sunbed - but you'll still go back for more.


It's like football. Well, it is if you support teams like Newcastle United; it's a game that will make you more angry than happy overall, but you'll still feel compelled to give it another bash. That's the beauty and the downside of Micro Machines v4. Underneath all that frustration is a neatly designed racer which keeps it simple to let you provide the fireworks.

The tracks are compact, with ten-second blasts of action that are just long enough to give the impression of a race, while being short enough to let you get your breath back. But it's the way in which races are won and lost that will make players hopping mad. The winner of each leg of a race gets a point, and the racer with the most points at the end of a certain number of laps wins the event. Sounds fair enough, and it is, generally. The red mist descends when, after driving faultlessly for nine sections of a race, you'll find it impossible to win that all-important tenth one.

Suddenly the balance of the race will veer towards your opponents, and certain victory is snatched away. Far be it from us to suggest the computer cheats, but the difficulty balance teeters just on the wrong side of bastard hard.

But it's not all bad. While the single-player game can be a total bitch, the multiplayer takes that frustration and turns it into actual excitement. It doesn't quite emulate the 'mates round the telly' buzz of the admittedly better PS2 version, but Wi-Fi Micro Machines v4 pretty much saves the game, and isn't that what Micro Machines has always been about? The rest of it though, is just plain evil.

The verdict

The single-player game feels unbalanced, but multiplayer is good, old-school fun.

PlayStation Portable
Racing / Driving