The best way to describe Trackmania Turbo to those that are not familiar is that it is a strange amalgamation of the gameplay from titles such as the Dirt rally series, requiring precise driving on high-speed, technical courses and the eclectic, balls-out course design and aesthetic of Trials Fusion.
It is a time-attack driving game where the only car that is ever actually on the track is yours.
Many of the driving challenges across the 200-track campaign can be completed in a matter of seconds, but that is only after you’ve failed spectacularly time and time again to the point where you are painfully familiar with the intricate twists and turns that the track has to offer.
There are 4 different play-sets that you’ll be driving in, each with a single car for you to use which guarantees that any mistakes that are made are totally on you. No complaining that someone else has a better car than you, if you have a slow time on a track, you simply just have to get better at it. Each play-set has a different visual aesthetic to them and also a different driving style that goes with it, which can be jarring if you just spent an hour in one location becoming one with your car only to change challenges and have to learn how to drive all over again. The locations are Canyon, Valley, Stadium & Lagoon and the challenges included within them vary from rough and tumble rally challenges to all-out, don’t stop for nothing, driving up walls and between pillars with an inch on either side at incredible speeds sort of craziness.
Each of them, when you manage to finally complete one after a couple of dozen attempts, give you a sense of achievement.
Until you realise that you only earned the bronze.
Fuck this game.
If you are someone who doesn’t take losing well, or are prone to rage-quitting when you don’t get your way, I may have to make the unfortunate recommendation that you don’t buy this game, or at the very least I recommend you try the demo available on both the Xbox One and PS4 stores. My understanding is that your progress from the demo will carry over to the full game, should you decide you like it.
If, however, you’re like me and enjoy overcoming challenges, lots of them, then I’m happy to announce that Trackmania Turbo is probably a game for you.
The controls are perfectly tight, and respond well at a lovely 60 frames-per-second on PS4. The physics on some of the crazy-fast courses can feel a little bit out of your control sometimes at first, causing your car to momentarily take-off causing you to lose traction and therefore control and furthermore your mind. Although I’ve noticed that feathering off the acceleration slightly at these times can help you regain control so take that free advice if you like, or don’t, I’m not your dad.
The inclusion of split-screen multiplayer is welcome in a console generation that seems to have forgotten how or why to do it. It’s fast, frantic and fun and there is no collision so you don’t have to worry about your relevant partner or buddies ruining your chances. You are all ghosts on the track, it freaks me out when my fiancé takes a turn at a sharper angle than me as years of playing driving games has trained me to react as I think that we’ll collide, even though the other cars on the track have a transparency to them, making it obvious they’re ghosts, it can take a while to become accustomed to.
There are also some secret, fun multiplayer modes, but I won’t spoil those here.
There is a lot of fun to be had with the online multiplayer too, it follows the same rules as the split-screen offerings with zero collision on other cars, but the online lobbies appear to be able to hold up to 100 players! 100! That’s nuts for console players! It really is a sight to behold when 99 other racers completely mess up a jump the same way you did and all their cars bounce away in different directions, the physics having their fun with the foolish souls that thought they were above the laws of gravity. It is a shame however that online ‘rooms’ can only have a set number of tracks associated with them, as supposed to randomly picking from the pre-made 200 or even using the interesting random track generator for unlimited driving fun with strangers and friends…
That’s right! Creator tools! While there is a random track generator that can craft you terrain after you specify the length and difficulty you’d like, basically multiplying track possibilities by an infinite amount, the real longevity of this game will undoubtably come from the twisted minds of those that craft the craziest, most death-defying challenges. There are a variety of tools available ranging from easy creation, for those who just want to mess around and create a track, to advanced which is where all the tools are available and your imagination is the limit. There is already some great stuff online, think you can do better?
TL:DR, Trackmania Turbo is a fast, furious, ferocious, occasionally unforgiving bastard of a time-attack driving game.
Most importantly, however, it’s fun.