Gamer dad who loves the classics, indies, racers and the occasional shooter. Have been in the industry for well over a decade and am as enthusiastic as ever! #4theplayers
Repetition and insanity are the two words I want to use to describe TrackMania Turbo’s high-paced gameplay. In most racing games you compete with other physical racers, but in TrackMania Turbo your opponent is the clock.
As each minuscule adjustment improves your run and the music is blasting your head off, TrackMania Turbo reaches a level of intense fun not seen since WipEout HD Fury. Though in many of TrackMania Turbo’s different game modes, the focus is always the clock. Courses are short and just one lap long. The tracks are quite gorgeous but not simple in design though. TrackMania’s roots are in arcade racing, and Turbo continues this legacy. From massive loops, big jumps and drifting, to the new mag-strips that lock your car to the track as you race up, down, and around one of the 200 courses. Playing through these courses is an easy way for anyone to jump in, whether you have been playing TrackMania for years or you are booting the game up for the first time.
As far as racing games go, TrackMania Turbo might be one of the most approachable around. Controls are simplified to just steering, acceleration and brakes, and the game’s campaign makes it easy to get used to the speed in the TrackMania Turbo courses. It also helps that the only person you’re racing against is yourself, so you always have a reliable landmark for improvement.
It helps that many racing styles are combined as one, so the grind never feels too repetitive. Canyon, stadium and valley combined with the new Rollercoaster Lagoon to keep the tracks feeling fresh and exciting, and after playing over 200 main tracks and many more custom-made or randomly generated courses, I never got tired of exploring new shortcuts and improving my skills as a driver.
The drive to improve is what makes TrackMania Turbo so great, as each second shaved off feels like a huge leap. Many courses start out with failed runs and crashes, as your car hits a rail or veers too far right and crash-lands in a canyon. As you master its layout and minute details, though, you can easily get hooked on the repetition. Each restart is almost instant, and it’s easy to focus on each medal time for each course, and afterwards on to the global leaderboards.
All of this funnels into the online play, which is the heart of TrackMania Turbo and where it will either stand the test of time or falter. Previous TrackMania games were made for PC, and built so that modding was easy and almost recommended. The ease of modding led to a culture of servers with custom soundtracks and user-created levels, one that became the face of TrackMania multiplayer.
There are a number of modes that make for excellent couch co-op play. You can play split-screen on any of the courses included or any custom courses you design, and there’s also a Double Driver mode that puts two players in control of the same car. Developers Nadeco even added a “secret” option, which queues up special game modes based on what button combinations you enter. They range from smart twists on hotseat or stunt, to completely insane modes like one reminiscent of Micro Machines. The online portions may be undercut, but as far as local multiplayer goes, it’s definitely one to pull out when you have a couple friends over.