Review: Joy Ride Turbo
When Joy Ride was first announced back in 2009 it was to be a free arcade game that would unleash your brand new avatars. Then Kinect came along and suddenly Joy Ride became a full priced title to show off what Kinect could do, it wasn’t anything special but it did have some fun moments. However, it was seriously lacking a controller. Three years later and the game is back with added Turbo and a controller.
The first mode you will come across is the Championship Series. There are three championships to try and win, divided between 100, 200 and 300BHP vehicles. You can race using sporty saloons, muscle cars and trucks. There are nine tracks with themes based over different locations including oceanside locations, the chinese temples and races around the mountains. There are a number of power-ups scattered throughout with mines, rockets, homing missiles and speed boosts to help you gain an advantage over your opponents. If you have played any sort of kart-based game, these power up will feel very familiar. Pulling off stunts whilst airborne will give you more boosting power which is always helpful when cornering or for pulling away from your opponents. Winning races will require you to jump longer, drift better, drive faster and be more ruthless with weaponry over the AI.
For an arcade title nine tracks across many races is a fair amount, it’s just a shame that only two of the tracks are different to those that appeared in Kinect Joy Ride. The better you place in the races, the more coins you earn to spend on new vehicles and paint jobs, but you only start with one car from each class. All of the tracks have little shortcuts for you to find and within them are boxes that contain car parts - by collecting more of these you unlock new cars for purchase. There are 126 parts for you to collect so it will certainly keep you busy if you want to drive something different. Unfortunately, it isn’t long before the races get a bit boring, especially if you haven’t unlocked any new cars.
When Joy Ride was played with Kinect it worked most of the time, but the precision was off and you would find yourself in all sorts of bother if you weren’t careful, but now that you are no longer the controller, things have improved and those tricky shortcuts are easier to get to. That’s not to say the game is any way perfect, since I found myself getting caught up in the track by making the slightest mistake and despite having three categories of power the cars never really felt any different.
It doesn’t take long for you to feel isolated in the game, the AI is challenging, the tracks are colourful and the cars handle well for the most part, but it doesn’t feel like there is any atmosphere in the game, that is until you introduce more human players. Local co-op is a lot of fun with your friends around you, it reminded me of huge Mario Kart sessions and the looks on friends’ faces as you manage to hit them with a shell inches before winning. The atmosphere isn’t quite there with Joy Ride, yet we still had fun all the same. There is multiplayer over Xbox Live too, which I’m sure is good fun, if you can find someone playing it online, I waited for up to ten minutes for a game, only for it to fail when it was due to start!
Next up is Stunt Mode, which sees you visit two arenas full of jumps, loop-de-loops and other obstacles for your car to take on. Here you can collect coins, trophies and most importantly other car parts to help build up your collection. This mode is completely free roam, so you’re under no pressure to complete stunts within a certain time. This mode is a lot more entertaining than the championships, as you are always moving thanks to the clever design of the arenas you are in. It was a great feeling knowing you were never going to hit a dead end, there were some tricky jumps but that was all apart of the fun. The biggest shame was the fact that there were only two arenas available, you could have easily doubled or trebled the amount, so that the enjoyment could go on for longer and you didn’t have to go back to the Championship Series mode again. On the plus side, there is clearly an avenue for DLC in the future.
If you’re a fan of Time Trials then that mode is available too, giving you the ability to get some practice in or to try and beat your friends’ times. If you are an achievement hunter then you will need to jump in here, as there is an achievement for driving 50 consecutive laps.
Even with a promise of DLC for the Stunt Park Arenas, it’s probably already too late for this game as players will have already moved on to bigger and better things. Kinect Joy Ride sort of worked and this game is a slight improvement thanks to the stunt arenas and the fact that it is controller-based, although it is already gathering dust on my virtual shelf.
Review: Joy Ride Turbo Results
What we liked:
Stunt Park Arenas are good fun
Local Co-op is well worth trying out
Once unlocked, the cars are pretty cool
What we disliked:
Online multiplayer is practically dead already
The Championship Series gets boring quickly
Not enough Stunt Park Arenas