GamerTell Interview: Playrise Digital CEO talks about Table Top Racing

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Playrise Digital released its first game for iOS today called Table Top Racing. Table Top Racing is described as Micro Machines meets Mario Kart due to the small stature of the cars, whimsical environments and emphasis on combat. Throughout the game, you’ll be rushing towards the finish line while picking up weapons that are certain to give your opponents a bad day. It’s a familiar formula, but Playrise Digital possesses one attribute other developers can’t claim. Its CEO, Nick Burcombe, was the co-creator and lead designer of WipEout. Given his experience with one of the most iconic PlayStation games of all time, it’s understandable to have high expectations of Table Top Racing. Earlier this week, we asked Burcombe about Table Top Racing and what players can expect from the game.

Needless to say, creating a cartoonish cart racer is a far cry from the Formula 1 and WipEout games Burcombe has worked on in the past. However, the reason for the shift in tone and art is very easy to understand.

“As an indie – you can simply get on with making the best game you can,”Burcombe told GamerTell. “No approvals, no committees – as long as you have a good reason to make the game and you can make it to high quality, you can just get on with it.”

“Quite simply we thought it would be more fun, perhaps a little bit more mobile audience. We were talking other combat racers like Micromachines and Mario Karts of course and that there didn’t seem to be a good one on iOS.”

The iOS platform is certainly no stranger to racing games. Companies such as EA, Firemint (whom EA purchased) and Gameloft currently have some of the most graphically intense racing games available for the platform. When it comes to stylized combat racing games like Table Top Racing, the number of similar titles starts to dwindle. This presented Playrise Digital with an opportunity to make a name for itself in a genre that has plenty of room to grow on iOS.

Creating a mobile racing game also means keeping controls simple. As we all know, the lack of physical controls on smartphones and tablets can seriously hinder gameplay experiences. With Table Top Racing, Playrise went all in on touch controls while keeping the game accessible for beginners.

“I’m a huge fan of combat racers, but also I like the fact that this [Table Top Racing] starts out slow and simple, but the intensity at the top end and really having to think about how to use the weapons is great,” Burcombe said. “One of the things I love about the Wipeout series too.”

The focus on touch controls also means playing Table Top Racing with physical controllers is currently not supported.

“We haven’t dealt with external controllers because we felt that we needed to get the touch controls right. I think we’ve done a pretty good job of simplifying but also allowing the twitch – the 60hz makes a big difference to response times and at the top end, you’ll need them.”

Airplay Mirroring is also something Playrise Digital has experimented with, but it’s not implemented at this time. So while you won’t be able to compete on the big screen, you can still take on friends and strangers in the game’s multiplayer mode.

“Multiplayer combat races are the primary focus for now, but we’re planning on expanding it with updates. Its good fun though and the fact you can use your upgraded cars in the races means if you’re falling behind you’d better go get some single player wins under your belt to keep up. Cash means upgrades – upgrades plus a bit of strategy and skill gets you wins.”

Burcombe also provided a multiplayer tip to help you get the best of your opponents.

“Learn the best use of weapons, Multiplayer pays more cash…..when you can afford them, explore the wheels – they regenerate a special weapon every lap – these can really help.”

These weapons include a homing missile, EMP, a speed boost and a bomb. Depending on the situation, these weapons can provide different benefits.

“There’s defensive and offensive ways of using them. For example you can hold onto first place from faster cars if you time your EMP strike properly. But equally if you’re at the back, you can clear mines with it or defend against a missile lock. Similarly mines act as decoys. Its about knowing how and when to use them and also when to simply get rid of one in hope of a more useful one. Overall, combined with the Special wheels – there’s quite a bit of depth to it.”

Table Top Racing can be purchased on iOS right now for $2.99. An Android version isn’t in the cards right now.

iTunes Link [Table Top Racing]

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