While the TrackMania series has never been a huge hit, it has always had a very passionate fanbase on PC. These fans run their own custom servers and play crazy maps with the absolute worst dubstep imaginable blaring in the background. It’s a pretty wild scene, and one that just can’t be replicated on consoles. That hasn’t stopped Nadeo from creating TrackMania Turbo, a more streamlined experience that is a perfect fit for console gamers.
The latest entry in the time trial racing series largely builds upon TrackMania 2’s foundation. All three of the past game’s locations (Canyon, Valley and Stadium) can be found here, each with their own different cars and physics. There’s also a new locale in the form of Rollercoaster Lagoon, an awesome theme park inspired track type that features the ability to do crazy twists and loops.
Initially, players will want to get a feel for TrackMania’s gameplay in the excellent campaign. There are 200 levels (50 of each type) to master, and players will be racing against the clock in order to earn medals. The difficulty ramps up over time, and players will quickly have to stop settling for bronze medals and instead get gold times.
“The online play is a blast, as even if you’re not doing well on a track, you’re only a few minutes away from a fresh start.”
While these levels do get extremely difficult, it’s a great way to get ready for the game’s online modes. Here you’ll be taking on tracks created by players in the game’s extensive track builder. Rooms can have up to 100 players in them, and they’ll all compete to get the fastest lap time in a 5 minute span. If you mess up you can quickly warp back to the beginning and try again. The coolest part is that you’ll see all of your competitors on the track as ghosts, so while you can’t collide with them, you can gain tips by watching other players play.
The online play is a blast, as even if you’re not doing well on a track, you’re only a few minutes away from a fresh start. The gameplay always feels great, with all four vehicle types offering up a different challenge. While it largely feels familiar to past installments, there are some new mechanics in terms of pads that can be placed on the tracks. These include turbo pads that will make your car go insanely fast and sections that disable your car’s engine temporarily. These are nice additions, and make Turbo the best playing TrackMania yet.
It’s worth noting that the track builder has been made very accessible by the team at Nadeo. There are three separate toolsets to use (ranging from beginner mode to advanced mode) so you won’t feel overwhelmed by the amount of customization from the get-go. Since all of the campaign’s 200 tracks were made using the editor, you’ll quickly know just how impressive the tools can be.
While the TrackMania experience is still largely intact, it’s still a bit disappointing to lose some of the online wackiness that has defined the series. Gone is the ability to honk your horn, and you won’t find players that have modded their cars to look like Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s an obvious casualty to bringing the series to consoles, but it’s just strange for a TrackMania game to be so normal looking.
“Long time veterans will have a few minor gripes with TrackMania Turbo, but it’s the perfect experience for those new to the series.”
That said, there’s no substitute for TrackMania’s specific brand of gameplay. No other racing game can replicate the crazy jumps and just the pure joy that the game can create. Nadeo has taken a mode that is often relegated to being filler in other racing games, and fleshed it out to be the core mechanic here. Making time trials feel compelling is an amazing accomplishment.
Another unique inclusion here is a plethora of offline multiplayer modes. While more and more games are getting away from split-screen play, Nadeo has added a bunch of different ways to enjoy TrackMania Turbo with friends. These include hot seat racing modes where players take turns going on runs, a double driver mode where two different people work together to control one car, and a bunch of secret offerings.
Yes, TrackMania Turbo has a bunch of highly experimental multiplayer modes that are only selectable by going to a menu option called Secret and entering a combination of three buttons. It’s absolutely off the wall, and just what you would expect from Nadeo. These offerings include modes that relegate both players on the same screen, ones that require players to mash on the square button to accelerate, and other wacky ones that are good for a laugh.
Long time veterans will have a few minor gripes with TrackMania Turbo, but it’s the perfect experience for those new to the series. There’s 200 great tracks to play in single player, and after players have mastered those they’ll be ready to play tracks created by users online. It helps that Turbo is by far the most stylish entry in the series yet, making it a really impressive offering for console gamers.
***A PS4 review code was provided by the publisher***
- Most accessible TrackMania game yet
- Gameplay is as good as ever
- Where is the horn
- Series vets will miss the craziness