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HTR+ Slot Car Simulation review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC
Publisher: QUByte Interactive
Developer: QUByte Interactive
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards
ESRB: E

If I've learned one thing with HTR+ Slot Car Simulation, it's this: whatever you do, do not play it on Easy. I'm not exaggerating in the least when I say that the game's lowest difficulty level sucks every possible bit of fun out of the game. You can win literally every single race just by pushing your car's acceleration up to the highest level and keeping your thumb in that same spot until you cross the finish line. Normally winning easily doesn't bother me too much, but when a paperweight could do pretty much everything the game asks of it, it crosses a line for me.

Of course, it's not like the game gets any more fun when you play it on "Normal" or "Hard", either. Normal suffers from the same issue as Easy: it's extremely beatable if you accelerate to the max right out of the gate and stay that way for the whole race. I was able to beat entire courses without even looking at my screen, which doesn't seem like the sort of thing that should be happening. All I had to do was take the money I'd won after trouncing my Easy competitors, up my tire grip up to the max, and then sit back and let the wins roll in.

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Hard, by contrast, suffers from the opposite issue: it's virtually unwinnable. Crashes happen in HTR+ Slot Car Simulation at totally random points in the race, even as opponents seem to have no difficulties whatsoever leaving you in their dust. It may be a case of the game demanding a little more nuance from you once you reach a certain level, but if that's indeed the case, it feels like it should've spent a bit more time asking you to learn something — anything at all, in fact — during its first two-thirds.

Mind you, even if it did, I'm not sure it would help all that much, since no amount of skill would help you overcome the game's glitches. And, unfortunately, those happen with an alarming regularity. I lost track of the number of times my car would get placed beneath the track (at least, I think it was beneath the track — the available camera angles couldn't find it, so I just assumed), or suddenly reset even though it seemed to be going along fine, or suddenly slow down just as it was approaching a loop. Normally I might blame some of these things on user error, but when the game only asked that I pressed a button in a single spot, I'm going to go ahead and absolve myself on that.

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Maybe I shouldn't, though. After all, this is the first time I've ever seen slot cars — real or virtual — in action, so I may have missed out on some huge piece of essential strategy that explains it all. Then again, I won all those other races, so there clearly can't be that much strategy, at least not here. Which means that unless you just want to win a whole bunch of races without even trying, you can probably avoid HTR+ Slot Car Simulation.

Grade: D+