Toy Box Speedway Review

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Sugar Rush Speedway

Toy Box Speedway is a big change from Infinity’s usual expansion content. Instead of a focus on combat or platforming, Toy Box Speedway is all about racing. Speedway features 9 tracks that go through locations from various Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars movies. It’s an interesting addition that allows you to make use of your collection of vehicles and non-combat focused characters, but unfortunately it does suffer from a lack of polish. Weird ‘quirks’ in the game’s mechanics and track designs stop this expansion from being as enjoyable as it could be.

The Toy Box Speedway expansion was handled by Sumo Digital (you might know them from their recent work on the Sonic All-Stars racing games) who overhauled the driving mechanics for 3.0 to make them more suitable for racing. The tracks in Speedway definitely share some similarities with the track designs in the Sonic racers. Each one feels different from the rest with its own distinct style and landmarks, whether this be the vibrant colours of the Sugar Rush track or the sand dunes of the Tatooine track. A cool feature that was carried over from Sumo’s previous racers is that tracks will undergo changes from lap to lap. Sometimes these are just aesthetic changes, like the Millennium Falcon taking off from the spaceport part-way through a race, but other times these will change up the way the track works as well. For example, in the Gravity Falls track a forest fire will break out during the race, making trees fall over to block off some paths, and in the Big Hero 6 track Yokai will attack the city towards the end of the race and you’ll need to avoid Nanobot swarms that pop up on the road. It’s a nice way of keeping you on your toes while racing.

Each track has shortcuts and alternate paths for you to choose between and try to get a faster time. Some of these work great, and reward skillful jumps and rail grinding with shorter paths. Other shortcuts… not so much. There are shortcuts that are tricky to get into, but barely shave off any time (if any) because the routes are equally long, or put you out onto the track at awkward angles that send you into the walls most of the time. There’s other shortcuts that require you to enter them at such specific angles, and jump at specific times, and put you at a huge disadvantage should you miss, which makes avoiding them a better option.

Millenium Falcon

Good luck clearing this track in 12 parsecs

You can use just about any character and vehicle combination in the game, including power disc vehicles. You can even race as the Cars characters! Characters don’t affect how you drive, but vehicles have differences from one another. It’s also possible to unlock the ability to apply the Monster Truck tires to vehicles with wheels, which changes the way they handle. However, some of the smaller, lighter vehicles are barely usable on tracks with huge jumps, because they bounce around when they land and end up flipped around or rotated. The game’s physics in general are an issue in this expansion. Vehicles occasionally get stuck on bits of terrain and the track barriers, slowing you down. This is particularly an issue in higher engine classes when you get close to the barriers while taking the racing line. There’s a few other weird issues that you’ll encounter as well – I’ve seen one where one of the opposing racers dies while in their kart, and respawns standing on the track while their vehicle keeps driving on its own!

The expansion offers three main modes (Race, Battle Race, and Time Trial), as well as one bonus mode when you’ve completed everything that enables each vehicle’s special abilities during the race. Race is a pure race with no weapons or special abilities, meaning that it all comes down to how well you drive. You need to make strategic use of Turbo and shortcuts, and if you come near an enemy you have to time a sideswipe just right so you can slow them down and earn more Turbo. It’s my favourite mode because it’s the most strategic and least gimmicky. Battle Race enables weapon pickups that you can use to attack your opponents. The items aren’t really intuitive – I still have no idea what some of them do, to be honest. They feel like they’re there because it’s expected of a racer like this to have them, and I prefer to race without them. Both of these modes can be played with single races, or in a Grand Prix of three tracks in a series. Time Trial is exactly what you’d expect – you race by yourself and aim to set a time on the leaderboards.

Gravity Falls

I’ve never watched Gravity Falls so just pretend there’s a clever reference here

Your opposition in these races will be 5 racers with random kart combinations (except in Grand Prix where the combinations all relate to the tracks involved). It’s hilarious looking at the starting line and seeing Darth Vader driving a monster truck version of a Main Street Parade Float, or the gigantic Hulkbuster on top of the tiny police car from Muppets Most Wanted. If you’re playing local or online multiplayer then your buddies will be added to the racer count. They have to be your buddies, because Speedway doesn’t include matchmaking, only playing with people on your Friends List. An important thing to note is that if you’re playing on PS3, Xbox 360, or Wii U, then instead of these cool combinations you’ll be stuck against a smaller number of racers and they’ll often all be Cars characters.

The AI are pretty brutal, but it seems like recent patches have made them a bit more fair. They’ll use Turbo and shortcuts, and if you get too close there’s a chance they’ll ram you to put you off-course. Before they’d ram you at every opportunity and race near flawlessly, but they appear to be a lot more manageable now. Players experienced with Mario Kart and similar games won’t struggle too much, but younger gamers might need some help taking the checkered flag.

 

Pizza Planet Grind Rail

Pizza Planet’s delivery drivers are incredibly dedicated to the job

As with every Infinity expansion, Speedway comes with plenty of Toy Box toys to unlock and use in your Toy Boxes. Speedway’s selection is brilliant – it comes with a heap of useful toys from a variety of franchises that anyone who spends time in the Toy Box will want to get. There’s toys from each franchise that has a track in the game (Frozen, Star Wars, Monsters Inc, Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6, Guardians of the Galaxy, Aladdin, Gravity Falls, and The Nightmare Before Christmas) except for Guardians of the Galaxy for some reason. I don’t know what it is with Marvel and this game! Some of the best toys unlocked from Speedway include Elsa’s Ice Castle, the San Fransokyo Sushi Cat mascot, the Mos Eisley Spaceport, and the Sugar Rush grandstands. If you’re someone who loves building in the Toy Box then it’s almost worth buying Speedway just for the toy unlocks.

Speedway’s definitely a missed opportunity, but I don’t feel like it’s a rip-off. If you know what you’re getting into and prepare yourself for some jankiness then there’s definitely enjoyment to be had here. The track designs are interesting, even if they have some apparent flaws, and it’s really nice to have an expansion that tries something radically different with the game. It provides something for people who want something outside of combat and platforming. I’ll be honest and say that this is my least favourite expansion for Infinity so far, which isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy my time with it. The issue is just the lack of polish, and bugs that keep yanking you out of the experience. It’s frustrating when your car bounces about after a jump and sends you in the wrong direction, or when you get stuck on a track barrier. I hope the team don’t give up on experimenting like this, and instead just ensure that future experiments are given the time that they need.

This review was written based off a game or game content bought with the author’s own money. Review scores are designed to be directly compared with other expansions in the same series, not other series. We use the full 10 point scale 🙂

Playset6
Bundled Characters0
Toy Box Toys8.5
While the attempt to branch out Infinity into vastly different genres is appreciated, it feels like this expansion didn't get the time necessary to smooth out the kinks. It's a decent enough kart racer if you can get it cheap, and Toy Box builders will want it just for the new toys it adds.
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