Trackmania Turbo Review (XONE)

Trackmania's Xbox Debut is Fantastic!

Trackmania Turbo screen
Trackmania Turbo. Ubisoft

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Going into Trackmania Turbo, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  My only experience with the series was YouTube videos of PC players making insane full speed tracks (where you don’t have to turn, just hold the accelerator) full of flips and twists and gravity-defying stunts, and another memorable video where they played 3000+ replays on top of each other, so the video featured thousands of cars flying all over the track.

  In other words, the games always looked fun as heck and I was dying to try them.  Good news, then, for folks like me who have never played Trackmania before – Trackmania Turbo on Xbox One delivers the crazy tracks, insane stunts, fantastic sense of speed, and same overall level of arcade-style racing fun PC players have enjoyed for years.     

Game Details

  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Developer: Nadeo
  • ESRB Rating:  “E” for Everyone
  • Genre: Racing
  • Pros: Bright and colorful; tons of tracks; awesome track editor; addictive gameplay; very challenging; $40 MSRP
  • Cons: Unlocking stuff takes forever; random track generator is slow

Features and Modes

First and foremost, it has to be noted that Trackmania Turbo is not a standard racing game.  It is a time-trial focused game where the idea is to conquer each track as fast as possible, rather than racing directly against other cars.  The tracks are built in such a way that the fastest technique and strategy doesn’t always mean being at 100% throttle at all times, so you have to take corners at the right angles and maintain the right speed in order to hit jumps correctly to smoothly make your way around the track.

  Think of it like Trials Fusion but with cars instead of dirt bikes.  Most tracks only take less than a minute to finish (if you run them correctly, at least), but just like in Trials you can quickly and respawn at the nearest checkpoint or restart an event with the press of a button.

The core single-player content revolves around a collection of 200 (yes, 200) progressively more difficult tracks.

  You have to beat each set of tracks to move on to the next, so unlocking all of the courses in this mode takes a while.  Thankfully, you can play all of the tracks in the game in other modes right from the start, but you have to unlock them for the SP championship mode. 

Despite being a single-player time-trial-centric experience, there is actually multiplayer available in Trackmania Turbo as well, but it is a little different from what you’ve played before.  Online multiplayer races feature 100 players, but since it is a time-trial, the other players are only ghosts you pass right through rather than physical things getting in your way.  These events are weirdly cool because you see dozens of other cars all around you and it is interesting to see the routes and techniques other players use.   Local multiplayer offers unique modes like single screen multiplayer (where both players are on the same screen, naturally,) as well as having two players control one car.  In this double driver mode, both players have equal control over the car, so the idea is you (hopefully) have the same idea about where you’re going in order to set fast lap times.  The double driver mode is nuts in the best way possible.

Rounding out the features list is a robust track editor.  You can either make your own tracks piece-by-piece or have the game randomly generate a track based on a number of variables you give it.  The random track generator can take a while to spit out a track, though, and my results with it haven’t exactly been spectacular (or fun).  Player-created tracks, on the other hand, are much more promising.  It is incredibly easy to find and download new tracks to play, and already there are hundreds of tracks available.  Folks are already making the crazy full speed tracks I mentioned at the top, but there are some genuinely thoughtful and challenging tracks popping up as well.

  Not every player-made track is a winner, of course, but this is a fantastic feature that will keep you playing for a long, long time.


The gameplay in Trackmania Turbo, like the rest of the game, isn’t quite what you might be expecting.  As mentioned above, this is a time-trials focused game with gravity-defying track designs that have loops, let you drive on walls, and massive jumps that cross entire canyons.  The idea is to tackle all of the obstacles at the right angles and correct speed – go too fast or too slow on a jump, for example, and you won’t make it – in order to complete the course in the fastest time.  Just like Trials, there are checkpoints on each course that allow you to easily re-play tough sections over and over and over again until you get it right.  Then you put a whole course together in one run for your best time.  Because you can restart so fast, the game is very addictive even if the courses can get somewhat frustrating. 

The controls are very simple – just gas and brake - and you can tap the brake to initiate a very smooth powerslide to stylishly (and quickly) slide around corners.  The handling of the cars – and each of the different cars and classes handle a little differently – is surprisingly twitchy.  You have to be very careful and very precise with your inputs or your car will fishtail and slide around and do things you don’t want it to.  You do get a feel for it very quickly, though.

Graphics & Sound

The visuals are pretty decent in Trackmania Turbo.

  The tracks are generally brightly colored and the environments look pretty good for the most part.  It isn’t super detailed or amazing looking by any means, but it does look good and has a fantastic sense of speed. 

The sound is solid with a very good soundtrack (and you can even press the window button on the Xbox One controller to boost the music volume), though the engine sounds can be kind of monotonous.

Bottom Line

All in all, Trackmania Turbo is a fresh take on racing that we haven’t really had on Xbox yet.  Recent years have also seen a dramatic decrease in true arcade-style racing games (Split/Second, Burnout Paradise), which makes the bright colors, insane tracks, and incredible sense of speed in Trackmania Turbo stand out even more among the more realistic racers on Xbox One.  Race fans hungry for an old-school arcade-style game will have a great time with it, as will gamers looking for a new title with a similar feel and challenge as the Trials series.  Trackmania Turbo is a solid racing game all around that we can highly recommend. 

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