The irresistibly cute little game comes to us just in time for the 2015 F1 season. It’s a wonder that the creators were able to keep the development quiet for so long, but now that the word is out, we can get hyped.
The MiniDrivers cartoon series began in 2008, drawing inspiration from the style of the 3D racing caricatures, Pilotoons. After a short battle over artistic licenses, the cartoon was recreated in a more simplified and colourful 2D style. Over the past several years, the MiniDrivers series has become a hit on YouTube for F1 fans because of its satirical and light-hearted approach to delivering highlights from each F1 race. The short videos in the series are uploaded a few days after each race, lasting only a few minutes. They animate only the important parts of the race, emphasising the funny reactions and personalities of some drivers. Watch the above clip to get a better understanding of the MiniDrivers series.
The announcement came this week that the cartoon series was launching a mobile game for its fans by partnering with the indie game studio, Ivanovich Games. The company is an extremely active mobile development studio known for games such as Final Kick and Push-Cars.
The studio confirmed that there will be 20 characters and 20 tracks, but was unable to give any further details. From early gameplay footage, we see that the game will offer three modes: Tournament, Season (career) and Online. The tournament mode lets you race individual tracks offline while trying to earn the maximum number of points in each race, with each increasing in difficulty.
In the Season mode, you race all the tracks as you would in a real F1 season, and win the title of 2-15 MiniDrivers’ World Champion for ending the season as the points leader. In the Online mode, you will compete against others for the best track time on the leader board and face new weekly challenges.
The tracks will be smaller versions of the 20 real-life tracks on which the 2015 F1 season will be held. Excluding test drivers and reserve drivers, the 18 team drivers of the year will be characters in the game, along with two original characters representing the developer’s team and the cartoon series’ team.
You will notice in the game that many names have been changed slightly like “Minicedes” or “Force Mini”. The MiniDrivers creator says this is only to avoid hefty penalties sought by the teams’ lawyers, and the “Mini” names are cuter anyway.
Once you start the game and select your driver, you will be able to (sort of) tune your car before the race. With a basic coloured metre, you will be able to increase or decrease your car’s performance in these areas: Speed, Power, Dry Tyres, Wet Tyres, Handling and Brakes. You can also upgrade the impact of your weapons. Yes, weapons, like in Mario Kart. You will pick up a weapon or booster by hitting the floating orbs. Here’s a list of what you can use to gain an advantage over your opponents:
- Steamroller - a temporary speed boost and steamroller attachment for the front of your car used to smash the driver in front of you.
- Tyre - one tyre that you may fling forward to hit a competitor, making them spin out.
- Boomerang - one boomerang to throw forward that slightly bumps your opponent (no, it doesn’t return).
- Oil - an oil can that leaves an oil slick wherever you choose to drop it.
- Turbo - an energy drink can that gives you a temporary speed boost. Perhaps Nitro would have been a better nameb but we get the point.
- Safety Car - a shield protecting your car from the weapons of your rivals.
The MiniDrivers game is not bad for a mobile game. It has decent 3D graphics, weather changes and night time racing. Surprisingly, you can feel the difference in the car with changes to each of the tuning options. The game also includes a viewer for watching the cartoon series, which begins its new season next week, a few days after the Australian Grand Prix.
The best part of the game is that it’s free. Yes, there are in-game purchases, but they’re not required. All things considered, this should be a fun way to pass time and have a few laughs as the F1 season unfolds.