Review: Trackmania Turbo (Xbox One)
Tired of super realistic simulations? Do you require some fun in your life? Have an urge to powerslide at breakneck speeds, while being upside-down only to be catapulted into the air? You’ve come to the right place. Trackmania Turbo will take no prisoners, but it’s also the last thing it’ll ever make you feel like.
Trackmania has been around on PC for some time and now it’s making its debut on current generation consoles. Other than having to deal with gravity you won’t find any sense of realism. The racing is over-the-top, requires pin-point accuracy when it comes to powersliding around corners and you have only one enemy in this game – time. Yes, it’s your typical arcade racing game where you’re trying to complete a race in the fastest time possible with only the clock standing in your way.
Campaign mode offers an astounding number tracks, totaling at 200. Here you can take it on by yourself or take part in Double Driver mode whereby you and a friend steer the same car to the finish line. The aim is simple – earn a Bronze, Silver or Gold medal. There are no boosts or any car upgrades to help you in achieving a faster time, so it comes down to raw skill and a good understanding of dealing with gravity. Touch a wall with your wheel and you’re adding milliseconds to your time, which can be the difference between a Silver and Gold medal. You’re always on the lookout for obstacles that’ll be up in your face before you know it as you’re travelling at speeds that exceed 600 KM/H. Trackmania Turbo does a great job at easing you into the mechanics as the first number of tracks are rather straight-forward, then you’re greeted with the “real game”.
A campaign to last you a lifetime
The Campaign is made up of several tiers that takes place in Canyon Grand Drift, Down & Dirty Valley, International Stadium and the brand new Rollercoaster Lagoon. Once you’ve managed the White Series and Green Series it’s on to the REAL THING. To race in the Blue Series you’ll have to obtain 80 Silver medals in previous events. The Red series requires 120 silver medals and the Black series, the toughest of the lot, requires 170 gold medals before allowing entry. The races are all exceptionally fun, but be prepared for all sorts of frustration that’ll see a colourful use of language come to the fore. Thankfully it’s got that ‘Super Meat Boy’ instant restart feature included. Press the Y button to revert to the last checkpoint you passed or press the B button to restart the entire race instantly. I found myself tapping that B button all too often, especially when you’re after a gold trophy. You’ll be dealing with various surfaces, including tarmac and the very tricky beach sand levels. You’ll also have to get the hang of four very distinct vehicles that resembles a Formula 1, Beach Buggy and two cars that looks like some sort of Sandmaster look-alike. Each car type handles very differently. The Formula 1 car has great handling, but lacks the ability to powerslide. The Beach Buggy is super twitchy but handles well in offroad environments and the other two vehicles are great for power-sliding. So what about when you’re done with the single player mode? The good news is that, unlike most racing games these days, there are plenty multiplayer options available.
Whether you’re playing offline or online – there’s something here for you. Hot Seat is a classic mode that will have you and up to 15 other players battling it out in a time attack. What’s great in this particular mode is that you only need one controller to do so. Arcade mode provides you and your buddies (in solo or double driver mode) with 3 credits in typical 80’s arcade fashion to get the best time – it’s tougher than it sounds, though I found it the least exciting mode of the lot. Split-screen will allow for up to 4 players to play the game offline via your screen splitting in four. Seeing as this is all about time and not a ‘who crosses the line first’ scenario you’re basically racing a bunch of ghosts and can’t smash into each other. The last offline mode is ‘Secret’. By pressing in random button combinations (made up of 3 buttons at a time) you’ll unlock secret modes including Mono screen – camera is unique and you battle to stay on-screen; Bonus – Get a bonus when crossing a checkpoint and press LB to hinder the progress of your buddy; Smash – Put your foot on the pedal and accelerate as fast as you possibly can and Stunt – get the highest score by using your analogue stick to do tricks. There is however one multiplayer mode that shines above all – everything and anything online.
All the racers!
Again you’re racing against ghosts, but you’re seeing up to 99 other cars on-screen collectively trying to get the best time. You’ll see your position in the race jumping all over the show in a five-minute session. I did not experience any moments with lag of any kind. The feeling of jumping into the Top 10, when racing with so many opponents, is a fantastic feeling. Online mode will drift right into your heart. Once the session is over you’re provided with a worldwide ranking, as well as a ranking in South Africa. I was ranked number 8 out of 222 players and 3297 our of 206082 worldwide over the weekend, though that’s obviously only Xbox One players at this stage. Oh, but there’s more.
If you’re tired of racing on one of the 200 designed tracks you can enter the Trackbuilder area and build or download your own track in under a minute. It’s exceptionally user-friendly. You’ll also receive buddy challenges to compete (as you would in Driveclub‘s challenges) and, though it won’t assist you by being faster, you can change the overall look and feel of your car in the garage. There’s so much to do and enjoy. That said, it can all become a little ‘samey’ after a good few hours of play.
A puncture that might need a patch or two
I understand that the overall idea is to beat the time, but it would have been fun if you could race against friends (online or offline) with some form of collision detection. It would make the racing all the more competitive. Perhaps an oversight that can be patched in or added as DLC later on. Something I was a little bummed about was that there was no replay playback option. After playing for 30 mins to get one gold medal you wouldn’t mind watching the replay of ‘how AMAZING you are’. The soundtrack was very fitting with an upbeat techno tempo getting you in the mood for some racing but, because you restart so often, I found that I got really tired hearing some tunes. You can thankfully edit the playlist or turn it off completely.
Trackmania Turbo has a very particular gamer in mind. If you enjoy racing that’s unrealistic, requires accuracy and desires perfection there is no other racing game that will take you on a rollercoaster ride quite like this.