Here at the Scottish Games Network, we want to make sure that the world knows about all the great Scottish games being released. In striving to ensure no hidden gems fall off the collective radar and into the mires of obscurity, we’re starting Coming Soon: a new series where we take an in-depth look at upcoming Scottish titles from developers great and small.
This premiere instalment should perhaps be called Coming Very Soon as the game we’re looking at, Bit Loom’s Tray Racers, is bursting out of Early Access in just a few days time on April 13. Ahead of its much-anticipated full launch, we sat down with Bit Loom to get to the bottom of a game in which you race to the bottom of a hill.
Tray Racers is, in Bit Loom’s words, “An online multiplayer racer where up to 16 players hurtle to the bottom of procedurally generated slopes in an adorable apocalyptic world.” It’s refreshing to see a sunnier take on the post-apocalypse, and Tray Racers looks set to build on that solid foundation with similarly joyful gameplay. Leveraging procedural generation to promote childlike improvisation over rote memorisation, the game plays nicely into its theming by randomly building tracks using components from a range of different biomes. “From Cactus Forests to Hot Springs, you never know what you’ll get or how you’ll find the fastest route to the bottom!”
This kind of playful whimsy is fast becoming Bit Loom’s house style. Their debut title, 2020’s PHOGS!, saw players teaming up to control the opposing heads of a double-ended dog, squashing and stretching them to solve a variety of cooperative puzzles. Tray Racers came hot on its heels and, as with all the best projects, began with a pun: “Toward the end of developing PHOGS! We were starting to throw around ideas and Henry (programmer and composer at Bit Loom) made the joke: “Forget Ray Tracing, what about Tray Racing?”, this was back in 2020 when Ray Tracing was all over the place. Within a few days we had a little prototype of a downhill racing game with a capsule on a tray sliding down some dunes. It was so fun to beat each other’s times, before we knew it we were making an online racing game!”
Beyond that excellent joke, Bit Loom drew inspiration from a range of other sources for Tray Racers, some more surprising than others. “We played lots of quick, online games with friends during lockdown and wanted to make something similar. We played a lot of smaller, rapid fire online games like Nerts. We are fans of games like Mirror’s Edge and Sea of Thieves which have inspired it in different ways as well as looking at what we do and don’t like from other racing games like Downhill Domination and Mario Kart.”
With such an eclectic mix of ingredients, there’s no doubt that Tray Racers will pack a unique flavour all its own. And while it may not actually be receiving Ray Tracing, despite an April Fools’ tweet to the contrary, the previously-mentioned procedural generation ensures that there’s a lot of power under the hoods of these humble plastic trays.
You can take Tray Racers for a test slide yourself when it officially launches on Steam and Nintendo Switch on April 13. The game will be fully free to play, with the option of purchasing a £4.99 Supporter’s Pack if you want to help out Bit Loom while grabbing some juicy character customisation options.