Apparently mindful of the time it takes to reach Xbox Live’s Indie Games store, let alone purchase a game from it, Milkstone Studios has ensured this accomplished little top-down racer has you driving within seconds. It’s one of several smart choices from a developer evidently not dissuaded by Microsoft’s seeming marginalisation of the service. The creator of Infinity Danger and MotorHEAT is carving itself a niche away from Minecraft clones and Avatar games of dubious quality, crafting solid genre titles that stand out simply by virtue of their consistency and polish.
With the street racing theme, the frequent night events and the neon directional markers, it’s rather like a top-down version of Bizarre Creations’ Blur, albeit without power-ups. Tracks are spread across different areas of the same city, and though the urban setting isn’t especially inspiring, races take place in rain and snow, and at dawn, dusk and night to lend visual variety. Handling is arcade-responsive, though the circuits prove a test to negotiate at speed, with chicanes and right-angled turns down narrow streets proving doubly difficult as 12 vehicles jostle for position. A recent update now makes it easier to pick your car out from the scrum, though you’re still best advised to opt for an outlandish colour scheme.
Little Racers Street's class-based career structure borrows from the Forza handbook, with each vehicle’s performance index based on power, turning, grip and nitro. These can be upgraded with credits gained from completed races, though repair costs are automatically deducted from the prize money. This does mean that ascending the ladder can be something of a grind, particularly as reducing the rather stern difficulty level also shrinks your potential winnings.
Still, its races prove wholly diverting, particularly once the lively A-class vehicles have been unlocked. A recently-added online multiplayer mode benefits from its rudimentary approach – at present, you won’t be waiting long to find a game, even if you’ll rarely get the full complement of 12 players. Little Racers Street might offer little that you haven’t seen elsewhere, but this carefully and intelligently assembled package is one of very few recent Indie Games that are worth negotiating the shady backstreets of the 360 dashboard to seek out.