Another console port to PC? Let’s see how Trackmania Turbo shapes up
Three words spring to mind when I think of Trackmania Turbo: hardcore, retry and desire. The Trackmania series has always been about trying to get the best time possible on a specific track. Unlike other racing games, Trackmania tries its best to turn you into a person who strives to become a better driver.
When you finish a track (with a time you probably thought was decent), the game defaults you to the first option in the menu: Challenge Silver. Your pathetic bronze record isn’t good enough so you try again. After many attempts you manage to smash your bronze record and upgrade to a time that nets you a gold medal. Again, the game defaults you to the first option in the menu: Improve. No matter what you do, you can always do better. Trackmania makes this clear right from the beginning.
Canyon Grand Drift - I told you this game looks stunning.
With two hundred tracks available in the campaign (tracks that are locked off unless you ‘git gud’), local multiplayer that supports up to four people, online multiplayer and one of the best Trackbuilders I’ve ever seen in a racing game, Trackmania Turbo has a lot to offer for only £24.99/$39.99. Ordinarily I wouldn’t mention the price, but when you consider everything the game includes as standard, that price is an absolute steal.
As I mentioned earlier, Trackmania Turbo features a campaign with two hundred tracks spanning across four unique environments: Canyon Grand Drift, desert-style locations, focuses on long drifts; Valley Down and Dirty, forest areas, difficult to drive on the dirt; Lagoon Rollercoaster, tropical surroundings with an emphasis on a rollercoaster-like track; and International Stadium which features of a mix of dirt, grass and roads. Progressing in the campaign requires you to obtain a specific level of medal before you continue. The first eighty tracks require a minimum of a bronze medal on each track, the next eighty require a silver medal on all tracks and the last forty want you to have gold medals on every track up to that point. At first, I didn’t realise there even was a medal requirement. When I couldn’t continue on the Blue Series of tracks (the game organises the tracks into five difficulty levels: White, Green, Blue, Red and Black), I soon understood the game no longer saw bronze medals as acceptable. Medals (gold ones specifically) unlock items that can be used to customise your car, giving players another incentive to do better.
You're going to have to unlock most of the tracks in the campaign.
Trackmania Turbo’s local multiplayer seems like the polar opposite to the single player campaign. Where the single player campaign demands perfection, the local multiplayer modes (specifically the Secret modes) try to focus on players having fun with people from all skill levels. The local multiplayer aspect of the game stems from the fact that Trackmania Turbo is first and foremost, a console game. Traditionally a PC game series, this is the first game Nadeo have released on current generation consoles. Along with a watered-down version of what PC players expect from the online multiplayer, Turbo boasts local multiplayer modes that have never been seen in a Trackmania game. Double Driver is the most interesting and noteworthy aspect of the local multiplayer modes. This mode puts two players together and has them driving the same car. Their actions individually control 50% of the car, forcing both players to work together in order to complete a track. Nadeo have allowed players to complete the entire campaign in Double Driver mode. They’ve also included a separate leaderboard to the single player campaign so teams can see how synchronised they are compared to the rest of the world.
The local multiplayer modes don’t end there, fortunately. There’s also Hotseat mode (players take turns to race using a single controller), Arcade mode (individually players try to get their name on a track’s scoreboard), Split Screen mode (where up to four players can race on the same track at the same time) and finally, Secret. Secret has players enter a three button code in order to access four new modes: Monoscreen, try to keep your car on the screen as the camera moves; Bonus, players are given items as they pass checkpoints; Smash, accelerating and reversing must be done by smashing the button to drive fast; and Stunt, a mode that rewards players with a boost gauge if they perform tricks in the air. There’s also a modifier that allows the modes to be played in either Fun or Pro mode. The Pro modifier adds collision in some of the modes and the Fun modifier allows players to catch up if they are lagging behind.
There’s also the online multiplayer aspect of the game that allows up to one hundred people to race on the same track. The player who manages to achieve the best time within the limit wins. The rooms (Turbo’s name for servers) are broken up into categories such as Tech, Race and Fullspeed in order to specify which types of track you can expect in that room. Players can choose from levels found in the campaign when hosting their room or they can upload their own levels to the Trackmania Turbo website.
One of the most impressive features of Trackmania Turbo comes in the form of the Trackbuilder. The Trackbuilder gives players four different ways to create their own tracks. Beginner is the easiest mode to use, it keeps things simple and straight to the point. Normal gives players more blocks and options to get a little bit more creative. The real fun comes in the form of the Advanced Trackbuilder. In Advanced, players are given every block the game has to offer as well as the terraforming option, allowing creators to design the perfect environment for their track. In addition to this, there’s also the option for PC players to activate the old Trackbuilding mode that could be found in the older games in the series. There’s also the ability to create a random track using the generator.
Performance & Graphics
Trackmania Turbo’s ‘90s arcade racer look is absolutely stunning, especially on PC. Supporting up to 4K resolution, 144HZ and even the option to play with a VR headset, the PC version of Trackmania Turbo is easily the definitive version of the game.
My computer (i7 2600k, GTX 980, 16GB RAM) ran Turbo flawlessly at 144FPS when playing with maxed out settings in the single player, but it did struggle when playing four player Split Screen. Once I switched the graphics preset from Custom to Fast, the game had no problem maintaining a solid 60FPS. One minor issue I had with the graphics came from the water. Any time I looked at the water it would have black specs but only from a distance. Hopefully this will be fixed with a patch, though if it isn’t I don’t think it will ruin the game for anyone.
Audio / Voice Acting
Not once did I ever feel the need to boost the music in-game (you can choose to do this at any point while driving). Turbo has some of the worst music I’ve ever heard in a game. Some of the songs were so bad that I turned off the music altogether and booted up iTunes instead. Not every song is terrible, but the ones that are convinced me that none of them were worth listening to.
When Trackmania Turbo gets something right, it ends up perfecting it. The driving mechanics in the game are flawless, the graphics are beautiful and the Trackbuilder gives players all the options they’d ever need. Not once do you ever feel like the game has cheated you in some way, or the systems in place have stopped you from obtaining the best times on tracks. The game is extremely easy to pick up, and once you put it down you will feel like a better driver. Turbo encourages you to learn from your mistakes and do better as a result of them.
Down & Dirty Valley.
When Trackmania Turbo gets something wrong, you begin to question why Nadeo would bother including something so bad in their game. The local multiplayer modes on the whole are incredibly disappointing. Every mode included in Secret is terrible. Monoscreen tries to be like Micro Machines but fails miserably; Bonus takes a great racing game and attempts to ruin it by including items; Smash isn’t fun and is almost broken on some tracks where the game turns your engine off; and Stunt is fine, but like the rest of the modes, boring. The other local multiplayer modes are acceptable, though the idea of playing with people of varying skill levels doesn’t work well in this game. Trackmania has always rewarded players for their skill; the main local multiplayer modes are no exception to this rule. Most people will probably enjoy Split Screen mode, however this mode also has a glaring problem. Players must play the same track several times over until one person is declared the winner. The problem stems from the game only picking that one track for players to race on. It’s fun for a while to see who gets the best time, but when you’ve raced on the same track seven times, it starts to get boring. The game doesn’t automatically change the track either, you’ve got to back up to the track selection screen to do it yourself.
TRACKMANIA TURBO VERDICT
Nadeo have succeeded in turning people who normally wouldn’t care about breaking records on a track into drivers that do. Trackmania Turbo’s biggest strength comes from the restart button, located right on the front of the gamepad (or just above the directional keys if you are playing on a keyboard). You know when you’ve messed up and you can easily turn to the ‘just one more go’ button that allows you to start over again. It doesn’t take long before you end up hammering on that restart button for hours on end.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Finally obtaining enough silver medals to unlock the Red Series of tracks.
Absolutely stunning visuals
The perfect track builder
Double Driver is a unique experience that should be tried at least once
Awful, awful music
Substandard multiplayer modes
Pressing the restart button in Split Screen mode takes you out of the race