Toy Story Racer

Video Game Review: Toy Story Racer for the Game Boy Color
By Noah Diekemper

I had high hopes for this game when I first got it. I absolutely love Toy Story and had found it a thrift store for a mere three dollars. Unfortunately, it turned out to be about two and a half bucks too much.

Gameplay-wise, there’s no real problem with this game. The control scheme works just fine and the difficulty is pretty fair. It’s just about everything else that they screwed up.

To start off with, the game doesn’t save. I don’t know why, because in a racing game like this, saving is pretty imperative. The menus, likewise, are problematic; namely, the track and character select screens. When selecting a character, you only see one at a time, and they fill up the whole screen, without the ability to see who’s on either side of you. To make it worse still, you can only move to the right (I’m not kidding; you cannot move left). Don’t worry, though; to compensate, you only have four playable characters anyway.

The tournament mode, too, is just messed up. You select a character for a race, and then every other race, the character in last is deleted and replaced with either a green army man or a green alien. But you select a new character for every race; you’re going to make it to the end no matter what.

The real problem comes with the actual races. They’re just too long and repetitive. There is a very real novelty to playing in these environments, but the races last five and a half minutes on average – way too long for a three lap race where there are only a handful of course options; right (i.e., 90 degree) angle left, right angle right, tilt left, tilt right, obstacle left, obstacle left, ramp. Furthermore, there’s such a lack of detail when it comes to the courses that it feels like you’re playing even more than the three laps – you just get lost in the blandness of it all.

It’s really hard to judge the music, for a game like this that aims so low, yet achieves it just fine – a single song that plays on a loop. It’s good, but it gets old pretty quick – way faster than it should, really, and mostly on account of the excessive race length.

Summary: Feels like a demo sloppily protracted to achieve “finished product” status. Not worthy of the name “Pixar.”

Final Score: 6/10

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