Trackmania Turbo Review: Shut Up & Drive

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Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Nadeo
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One
Released: Out Now

There are not many racing games that will dangle you from a helicopter Agent 007 style, before dropping you down onto a ramp, but TrackMania Turbo isn’t your ordinary racing game. Falling into the arcade racer category, Trackmania offers tons of physic defying tracks rolled into a robust package of solo and multiplayer content.

While there are quite a few simulation driving games to choose from, Trackmania Turbo is the thrilling arcade racer that we’ve been missing this generation. That’s not to say it will be easy to pick up and come to grips with for any gamer, because mastering any given track requires dedication and a good amount of practice. The main campaign is split up into four environments: Grand Canyon Drift, Down and Dirt Valley, Rollercoaster Lagoon and International Stadium. They all play very differently to each other thanks largely to the different vehicles each particular locale features, as well as some unique track designs and attributes. Track designs are deliberately tough, and will have some frustrating moments. Obstacles stand in the middle of the courses, and jumps will send you careening out of bounds if you enter them at a non-optimal angle, and clipping a rock can result in the vehicle spinning out uncontrollably. Thankfully, you can instantly restart an event if you’re running into any sticking points. If you’re a perfectionist like me you’ll be starting over quite a bit. Every unnecessary degree of steering input snaking through the slalom and you’ll lose time. Every excessive bit of speed leaving the jump resulting in a late landing can cost you more crucial hundredths of a second. TrackMania lives by the mantra of being easy to learn but difficult to master but that’s exactly how the game reels you in for what can be hours of gameplay.

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The only real gripe I had with TrackMania is the progression system is more on the linear side. It forces players to work through 10 events per location, and 40 total to open the next tier of events. This means after completing a series of 10 ‘Grand Canyon Drift’ events, the next 10 ‘Grand Canyon Drift’ courses are gated pending the completion of 30 entirely separate events in the remaining three environments. This really, for lack of a better term, grinded my gears. I would be remiss not to mention that there is a joker system that helps you through the frustrating moments. Its application is pretty straight forward – finish a race three times with a certain podium position, and you can unlock the greater one with no additional effort. To unlock all of Trackmania Turbo’s campaign events, you’ve going to have to be one hell of a driver. Most of these events are point-to-point time trials, your vehicle speeding around the track in order to make the exit in a time fast enough to earn a bronze, silver or gold medal. Trackmania is easily the most difficult arcade racer I’ve ever played.

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Trackmania also offers quite a bit of fun options under the hood. There’s a track editor that lets you put together a course that is easy or difficult as you want it to be. You can opt to make use of a beginner-friendly designer, or something far more advanced. Outside of the Campaign and Arcade action, a nice selection of multiplayer modes exist, that throw up to 100 players together on a track as well as ghost cars as you all try to get the fastest times. As frenetic as that sounds it actually was a lot of fun. There is also the crazy co-op mode called Double Driver, where two players must move in tandem to control the same car in an effort to steer the vehicle around the track.

BMR Endgame

You really can’t go wrong with Trackmania Turbo, a fun and fast paced alternative from the more serious racers. While the restrictive single player progression puts a slight damper on things and the game can be frustrating at times, gorgeously vibrant graphics, 100 player online play and tons of local multiplayer modes will keep you coming back for more. written by DJRhude (@DJRhude)

BMR Approval Rating: 8.5

The product in this article was sent to us by Ubisoft for review on the PS4.