Mario Kart meets Rocket League in this bite-sized arcade racer.
Originally released back in 2011 on iOS and Android, Mini Motor Racing X has finally made its way to the Oculus Quest, offering what could easily be considered the most satisfying VR racing experience available on the standalone headset at the moment. Whether it be the massive selection of eclectic racetracks and environments, in-depth vehicle customization, colorful isometric visuals, or numerous game modes, there appears to be something for everyone in this surprisingly rich racing experience.
Players begin their racing career within their own personal garage. It is here you can select from a wide variety of vehicles, each featuring their own unique stats. You can also change your appearance, upgrade your ride, and perform a variety of other customizations. The garage is actually one of my favorite parts of Mini Motor Racing X. Something about cycling through vehicles using the automatic lift and viewing the racetrack outside feels oddly therapeutic. It is here you can also cycle through the various game modes. Career Mode lets you unlock additional vehicles by competing in hundreds of races across 50+ tracks ranging from tropical resorts and alpine trails to archeological dig sites and ancient tropical ruins.
There’s also Quick Race which allows you to hop straight into the action. For an additional challenge select “Type X” during the map selection phase to allow for in-game weapons and abilities such as rockets, tornadoes, and shields. It’s sort of like VR Mario Kart, minus the fantastical characters and friendship-ending Blue Shell.
Those looking for something beyond conventional racing will want to check out the arcade. Here you can hop into a handful of additional game modes like Time Trial, Custom Races, and Micro Motor. There’s also Bumper Ball, aka VR Rocket League. This soccer-inspired competition pits two teams of cars against each other as they attempt to drive a massive soccer ball into each others goals. This has turned out to be my favorite game modes out of the whole bunch, albeit the most nausea-inducing. Thankfully, developer The Binary Mill goes out of its way to provide a host of comfort and control options.
There’s a reason you don’t see as many VR racing games out in wild as you do first-person shooters or sword fighting: VR motion sickness. If not handled correctly, rapid movements in VR are almost guaranteed to generate at least minor discomfort. Mini Motor Racing X bypasses this issue by offering an extensive array of viewing options. For the ideal racing experience, I recommend hopping into the drivers seat for some immersive first-person driving. Using you Touch controllers, you can grab the wheel with both hands to steer and drift your way through each course.
Once situated in your seat, you can then adjust how much of the world you wish to see by altering your side windows. You can leave them open to view every bit of the action, apply a mesh to partially obscure your vision, or cover them up completely. These alterations sound insignificant, but they actually make a huge difference in terms of motion sickness.
For an entirely different perspective all-together, hold down your right analog stick to enter third-person mode. Here you can view the action from a top-down perspective, teleport to various positions around each track, or fix yourself above your vehicle. Whereas the in-car view has you driving your vehicle via a conventional wheel, third-person allows you to control the action with a single hand as if operating an old-school slot car. If you switch from first-person to third-person while holding onto the steering wheel, you can actually bring it with you outside the vehicle, though I wouldn’t recommend it.
Don’t let the cartoon vehicles and isometric visuals fool you, however; Mini Motor Racing X offers a rich VR racing experience unlike anything available on the Oculus Quest at the moment. While there are a handful of well-designed racing titles available on the standalone headset, none match the level of depth offered by The Binary Mills addictive experience. There’s even 4-player online multiplayer and campaign coop.
Mini Motor Racing X is available now on Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift/Rift S, and PSVR for $24.99.
Image Credit: The Binary Mill