I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of racing games. The last one I properly invested in was Crash Team Racing on the PS1 and I’ve found it hard to enjoy anything with 4 wheels and no rockets ever since. However, Trackmania Turbo caught my eye after seeing a number of fanmade auto map videos pop up all over the internet. At first glance, Turbo seems fairly insane with some good fun to be had all around so with that in mind, I decided to break my streak of avoidance with racing games in order to give Trackmania Turbo the review it deserves… by someone who knows nothing about racing games.
So, getting started, as someone who both does not have a real world driving license and cannot steer for her life in game, I could not have been more thankful to Trackmania for placing billboards on the first 10 maps telling me when to brake and generally holding my hand like the itty bitty baby I am. It helped me get acclimatised to the driving style and achieve a silver medal on every track. However, even with so much help I still found the gold medals next to impossible and far more suited to racing veterans willing to put in the extra effort to making the race go flawlessly. Furthermore, once I hit the different terrains and felt myself sliding over dirt and into trees, the billboards weren’t so much a help as they were yet another surface I could smack my face into. Seriously, this game is noob friendly, but by god, you need to work to become a master, a sentence which couldn’t have been drummed into my head more than when I came across this sign in a custom map:
With dozens of maps, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy in Trackmania whilst playing alone, particularly if you’re a perfectionist scraping seconds off your times in search of gold medals. Not to mention the fact that once you’ve exhausted the solo campaign, there are literally thousands of player made maps to test your abilities. My only wish is that they were easier to find as the game doesn’t come with a search function or a way to name your tracks. The only way to really distinguish the good from the bad is a rating system, so some improvements can hopefully be made there.
Now, as far as multiplayer goes, as long as you’re not a friendless hermit like myself, there is plenty of fun to be had with Trackmania. It strikes me as sort of a party game, and the fact it stylises itself as an old school arcade game only furthers this idea. In today’s market, finding something with local co-op is an arduous task. So many companies rely on online co-op as an excuse to sell 4 games as opposed to one, but Trackmania thankfully remembers a time when we were all poor and had to bring our controllers to our friends houses. Not only does it feature splitscreen co-op, but it also has a ‘Double Driver’ mode wherein you and a friend both drive the same car and hopefully don’t ruin your friendship in the process. Whilst I didn’t get the chance to test this mode, it seems like something that will either infuriate both players, turn you both into a synchronised super driver or end in many hilarious crashes.
Trackmania Turbo is an arcade style racing game with colourful visuals, a quick pace and a soundtrack to match. Everything from the “Insert Coin” opening screen to the simple controls gives off the classic vibe that you could play this game in an arcade cabinet and that’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong. Everyone loves spending a Saturday or two with their friends throwing money at flashy machines every once in a while, but how many people do that every week? While the era of the local arcade may have been a prosperous if not costly time for gamers, it has undoubtedly fallen into decay. Gamers have more or less cast off quick gaming sessions in favor of hours upon hours being immersed in a world or grinding for achievements so realistically what it comes down to is “Do you want something you’ll play for 10 minutes every once in a while, or 10 hours all at once?” If you picked the former, Trackmania is for you. It’s fun, it’s fast paced and it’s great for parties, but if, like me, you prefer a bit more bang for your buck, give it a miss.