I wanna fly high…
I cut my teeth on arcade racing games, giant cabinets with sticky steering wheels and broken gearshifts. One of my favorite driving games from that time was Midway’s San Francisco Rush series. The sheer insanity of flying through the city, the tension that any wrong landing would cause my car to explode. It was exhilarating. Trackmania Turbo rekindles that magic, delivering fast racing with consequences, but also sprinkling in a little Trials-quick restart formula to temper frustration. Combine that with the outlandish tracks, and we have a winner.
There is a lot to see in Trackmania Turbo. The campaign mode has four areas, each with several difficulties, combining for over 200 tracks. Navigating through all of these took an ample amount of time, while also introducing me to each type of car and track design. Secretly, it was also teaching me how to create my own interesting tracks, which we will get to later.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $39.99
Multiplayer: Local and online
What I love about Turbo is the quick in-and-out of each race. Tracks are generally less than a minute to complete, outside of the lapped courses. Players also have an instant restart for when they make a bad turn. There is also a checkpoint restart, but I rarely used that. I wanted my runs to be perfect, and this design encourages that.
Track design is what makes Trackmania so addictive. These rollercoaster rides are exciting. Flipping upside down, or that feeling of no control as my car glided over a massive jump, took me back. The environments are varied enough that each area offers up plenty of visual treats. Magnetizing to the track as I flip into first-person mode and go completely vertical up the side of the track is as much fun as it sounds. Each new track got me excited to see what was next, and replaying them for better times became an addiction.
In addition to the core tracks, there are also challenges, which incorporate tracks created by the community. I cannot wait to see some of the creativity that spawns from the community. The track builder itself is extremely easy to use, and even someone like me, who hates creating game content, was able to craft and upload a track. Much like Mario Maker, they have to be validated before they can be uploaded.
The track editor uses a simple click and go interface where I would select a piece and connect it with my existing track. Only pieces that I could use appeared in the context-sensitive menu. It is very intuitive and simple to create tracks for public consumption, or just to send to friends. Sure, it isn’t as robust as the PC offering, but it will suffice.
When the campaign dries up, there is always multiplayer. Trackmania Turbo separates this into local and online. Online mode is insanity personified. Players jump into created rooms, and proceed to race against 100 other player ghosts. It is as chaotic as it sounds. Watching so many cars on the track is simply nuts, and at the outset seeing the track is a challenge in and of itself.
Local multiplayer takes on a different form as up to four players can throw down on tracks in splitscreen mode. There is also a mode called dual driver, which will test the patience of any relationship. Each player has 50% control of the steering of the car, and if they work in harmony, things go well, if not, well one can imagine the insanity that manifests.
Trackmania Turbo is a looker. The game sports a colorful coat of paint, and a seemingly rock-solid frame rate. The track design is fantastic, and seeing the twists and turns high above a level before being dropped down into it never gets old. The music is a collection of generic beats, and sadly the customized music from the PC version is all but absent.
Racing games are not nearly as prevalent as they used to be, and arcade racers even more so. Trackmania Turbo scratches an itch I had forgotten I had, taking me back to the days of massive arcade cabinets and split second failures. The progression is addictive, and the wacky track designs kept me coming back. This is one racing game I think everyone should take for a test drive.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.