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Trackmania Turbo, the newest addition to Nadeo’s arcade racing series is due to release later this month. With its predecessor, Trackmania 2: Valley having been released back in 2013 and with Turbo having already been delayed last year, some fans have been looking forward to this for quite a while now. We had the opportunity to test drive it at a preview event and can confirm that there’s a lot to be excited about.
Firstly, Turbo has been completely reworked, including a number of new modes and a brand new art direction. Nadeo have gone for a 90s arcade racer style for Turbo. The rushing sense of speed combined with the vibrant colour palette make the game stand-out against simulated racing games. Turbo looks appealing enough to encourage people that may not be big racing game fans to give it a go, though behind its colourful visuals lays a deceptively difficult game that is easy to pick up but tough to master.
The game has been split into four environments, each designed to feel unique when racing. The majority of these environments will be familiar to fans (jumping through the countryside in Dirty Valley, drifting through the North American grand valley in Canyon Drift and meticulously navigating your way around International Stadium). However, the newest addition, Lagoon Rollercoaster, turns the game on its head, literally. This environment is set in a tropical paradise, in which players will test their driving ability by racing along the tracks of a rollercoaster. Lagoon Rollercoaster was our favourite environment to race on by far, as its crazy loops and corkscrews kept us feeling very alert and competitive. We also found that this environment was the most interesting to build tracks on as we could create crazy, towering structures and then test them out.
One of the modes that we are particularly excited about is Double Driver. This is a co-op mode in which two players each use a controller to steer one vehicle. Everything is shared 50:50 in this mode; including steering, acceleration and braking, so good communication is key. This mode sounds like a gimmick that has no right to be good but it’s probably the highlight of the game for us. It’s fun, light-hearted and a great way to introduce someone to the game. It took us a few levels to get used to working together but once we did, it was really enjoyable. At first it seemed as though the seriousness of Trackmania had melted away in this mode, as we had to get used to working as a team. However, once we started to improve, it felt more competitive again as we wanted to beat our times. In addition, the major draw that we found to Double Driver was that you can complete the entire campaign in this mode; there are even separate leader boards for it. The campaign mode will launch with two hundred unique tracks, spanning five levels of difficulty and these will be available in both the single campaign and Double Driver.
Turbo also features a Track Builder mode. The Track Builder mode has been optimised to suit players building courses using a controller. There are now four levels of difficulty to select before building a course. These difficulties range from Random Course, where courses are created by the game, ensuring you have a brand new level to race on; Beginner, where players that are new to the game are given a few tools to create relatively simple courses; Normal, which adds more than ten times the amount of tools given to you in the Beginner mode and Advanced, which we did not get to see as it was not available in the preview build. On the other hand, the developer informed us that courses in the Advanced mode would not be limited by the number of blocks you can place on the environment (a limitation that is in place in the Beginner and Normal levels).
As this edition of Trackmania has been created primarily for consoles, there has been a bigger focus in regards to the local multiplayer options. Turbo’s multiplayer modes include: Double Driver mode, where two teams of two compete to determine who has the best coordination; Arcade mode, where players race to get into the top ten against sixteen opponents, and Hot Seat mode which allows four people to play with one controller as they take turns trying to get the best time on a course.
There’s also the Secret mode, which is presented in a traditional cheat menu format. For example, if you wanted to play the mono-screen mode you would need to press a specific key three times in order to unlock it. The Secret menu contains four modes that are brand new to Trackmania. The first mode is Mono-Screen, which is heavily influenced by Micro Machines. In this mode, players are forced to drive on the same screen with collision activated. The second mode is Smash, which is influenced by Track and Field. Smash forces players to repeatedly hit the accelerate button. The third mode is Bonus, where players gain items once they pass checkpoints. The final mode is Stunt. This mode gives players greater movement in the air allowing for tricks that, when successfully landed, grant players the ability to boost on the ground. Turbo also contains online multiplayer that supports up to one hundred players in the same server, though the modes that are available for the online multiplayer are different to those that you will find in the local multiplayer.
Trackmania Turbo may not be the game hardcore fans want due to the lack of dedicated servers and custom car skins, among other things. However, for those who aren’t as concerned about these changes, there’s more than enough for both hardcore and casual fans to enjoy. The preview build we played only contained a fraction of the campaign and a stripped down version of the track builder, despite this, there was more than enough to keep us entertained (and we are definitely not in the hardcore crowd!). Mechanically the game is perfect in both an arcade racing sense and for that ‘one more try’ feeling. When the game does release in March, we are sure it’s going to be fantastic.