Trackmania Turbo is all at once a mixture of hardcore and casual, a game that is easy to pick up but incredibly difficult to master. It provides challenge in such an accessible way that you’ll rarely find yourself irritated, and will instead readily submit yourself to another gruelling race track.
Trackmania Turbo is a success simply because it takes the dullest mode in racing games – the timed lap- and makes it fun and exhilarating. Whilst there are a number of modes, all of them have you attempting to beat the scores set out by previous times. The timed lap would be a mode that I’d ignore in any other racing game. But given the brilliance of the tracks coupled with the fantastic handling of the vehicles, Trackmania Turbo makes time trial mode the highlight and indeed the core of the game. Being able to see the ghost car of your opponent - whether it be bronze, silver or gold – gives you incentive and competition to shave off the seconds from your lap.
The main solo campaign offers 200 tracks to complete. Some laps can only last 20 seconds while others can take much longer. Multi-laps are particularly difficult as one wrong turn can reset all of the progress you’ve made. Luckily you can easily restart the track with a simple button press which doesn’t take you back to a loading screen. You can also choose to start back at the last checkpoint you passed to attempt the part where you went wrong.
The campaign leads you through a variety of environments, each of which requires you to use a different race car. The environments affect the track design, for example the Rollercoaster Lagoon tracks have you driving through sand and surf whereas the Down & Dirty Valley tracks have you off-road a lot of the time. The cars that you use handle very differently from one another as well. The F1 car sticks to the ground but feels heavy compared to the Rally car which can fly round corners.
The great thing is that the handling of each vehicle feels so responsive that it’s always a joy to drive them. You can physically feel the car pull into turns and the slightest wrong touch will force you to try and tame the car back into position. Sand, tarmac, dirt and water all have a huge effect when driving through them requiring careful braking and navigation.
The tracks themselves feel like an amalgamation of the hardest parts of Mario Kart courses with developer Nadeo throwing in plenty of other unexpected curveballs. While the earlier tracks can be very reminiscent of the Dirt series the game quickly supplies more creative tracks. Big jumps, split-tracks, loop-to-loops and wall rides are some of the features that are included within the tracks. Other things such as boosts and a limiter, which takes your engine offline for sections at a time requiring you to coast, makes tracks particularly fun and inventive.
The game has a number of other modes as well including split-screen multiplayer, online tournaments and worldwide challenges to compete in. Your ranking is updated after every race which lets you know your place in the world, your country, as well as your region. Online racing is a particular highlight as you can see every competitor on the map many of which contain up to 100 players. Other competitors are always ghost cars but the element of competition is a fantastic welcome.
Lastly there is a robust and easily accessible track builder. Not only does this add replayability to the game but it’s another mode which is especially worthwhile. Finished tracks can be shared and you can set your own challenges for friends and other players to compete against.
There aren’t many negative features about Trackmania Turbo. The unlockables and car customisations aren’t anything special and I rarely found myself changing the colours on my vehicle, but it is a nice addition. The soundtrack is probably the weakest aspect of the game with many forgettable tracks which just sort of fade into the background. Despite a few long loading screens the game runs perfectly as well, and the visuals are crisp and welcoming to the many different environments.
Trackmania Turbo hinges upon its gameplay which coupled with the excellent track design, is enough to keep players coming back. The one-more-try ethos is inherent in the game and bettering your score is addictive as it is challenging. The many game modes and in-depth track builder gives the game a lasting appeal. The online challenges and ability to share your tracks will easily contribute to an excellent online community. For fans of arcade racing and exciting driving games you can’t really go wrong with Trackmania Turbo.
Trackmania Turbo (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
Excellent. Look out for this one.
Trackmania Turbo is a gem of a title that incorporates tight and responsive gameplay with longevity and replayability. You can spend a long time trying to attain all the gold medals, but it will be worth it.