Micro Machi.. Mini Racer, Super Woden GP

On your marks, get set, spin! Mini arcade racer Super Woden GP is the latest from Eastasiasoft and deserves to be taken out for a spin.

I’d never heard of Super Woden GP, but a few screenshots and the trailer appealed immediately. Yet another review where I’ll reference an Amiga 500 game: the scent gave off some cedarwood, smoke, and Supercars 2.

I made this comparison before with the excellent Mechanic Battle on the Nintendo Switch. Again, it’s one of those top-down/isometric viewpoints in the style of Super Off Road (wow… gaming history for you), where you have to dash around a race track looking for the win – albeit, no combat, nor upgraded vehicles.

Instead, you must win races to a) earn money to buy new wheels and b) increase your star rating so that you may unlock new courses. With the latter, there are three stars on offer; one for third place, two for second, and… yep: three for first place. Once you unlock these stars, you can play new tracks in the Weekend mode – a sort of friendly race that awards a decent amount of cash should you win, or stack up enough stars, and you can opt for the Endurance and Rally stages.

Super Woden GP Review - Snow joke
Snow joke. Source: Eastasiasoft

Super Woden GP PS5 Review

It’s super easy to spell out how to unlock the goodies in Super Woden GP, but getting there is, well, something else. The game uses a lot of hyphens (that’s ‘-‘) in the text, and when it begins, it looks like you have minus credits. Without a starting vehicle, other than the prompt to visit a dealership, it’s not clear what you can buy. At least, that’s my excuse. Settling for a Fiat 500 look-a-like (no licensed vehicles, but you know what they are), I immediately regret it as the lower-level cars’ handling is diabolical.

So much so if you don’t have much in the way of patience, you may find yourself bailing on Eastasiasoft’s latest. But heed my advice: handling is everything. A D class should be better than an E class, but I found switching to a car with better handling allowed me to clock up a few races to buy a new car, a Peugeot 106 type. Upon receipt of this vehicle, the game changed. It seems that catching up with other cars on the straights isn’t too much hard work, but any slip off the track or a topple into a barrier, and you can more or less rule the race over. The higher-end cars make it much more palatable, pending you have the patience to grind and unlock them.

The actual handling of the cars in Super Woden GP isn’t bad, but the better the rank, the better the experience is. There are three stats to look out for: power, grip, and handling. By far, the latter was the key stat, but as you progress, so too does the competition, and you have to select cars that are ‘level locked’ with the appropriate PP level – i.e. early stages require a vehicle up to 150pp – anything over, and you can’t enter. There goes that loophole.

Super Woden GP Review - Night driver
Night driver. Source: Eastasiasoft

Spin, Spin Sugar

Without a doubt, collisions with the sides of tracks or millimetres off the tarmac will bring your car to a halt, and it’s an absolute pig. In theory, you have to drive perfectly. Bashing into another car won’t spin you out – the same if they crash into you (as seen in Hotshot Racing). However, the balancing is good, so it’s not like you can get too far ahead of the pack. So, despite that difficulty, Super Woden GP is a decent challenge. If you want to unlock everything in one go, play something else and then delete it a few hours later. That won’t happen with this – there are lots to unlock.

Multiplayer fans can jump in on a free run option where you can customise your tracks, settings and AI. There are also a few options to tinker with the camera angles, free angles, and several very good filters, such as a 1950s TV option. The music would probably be better suited to an indie platformer than a racing game, but it’s fun and upbeat, nevertheless.

Despite my initial reservations and borderline, I’m going to throw the controller at the wall state; there’s fun to be had with the game, though you should memorise the tracks to benefit from it. There are a ton on offer and plenty of variants, such as weather-based ones and night driving. Besides the steep difficulty in the early parts of the game and some poorly placed trees that block your view should you crash, Super Woden GP is a quality throwback indie racer. If you’re patient enough, there’s a lot of game on offer.

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