Kinect Joy Ride was a trailblazer for Kinect-based racing games. Now Joy Ride Turbo, an enhanced controller-based version of the game is available on Xbox LIVE Arcade. It’s a simple but fun racing game featuring your own Xbox LIVE avatar as the driver. And it’s a perfect game to pick up for the casual gamer, battle racing game fans, or those who enjoy challenging their friends to intense multi-lap races won in the final seconds by a well-timed rocket shot. Snicker.
On The Track
The game’s pretty simple. You won’t find too many layers of Forza-type sophistication here. But the controls are pleasingly precise: Right Trigger to accelerate, Left Trigger to brake, X to drift, B to boost, and A to deploy your weapons. You can get more boost power by performing tricks in the air off jumps (rotate the thumbsticks). Jump into Quick Race and drive around on a few of the tracks to get the hang of it. Once you unlock tracks, Time Trial mode is a great way to explore the track to discover alternate routes and the collectibles. All of the tracks have strange alternative routes through them and this is often where collectible boxes of car parts are hidden. Do your exploration before going online to find those shortcuts and maybe you can win a few races!
Your options in single-player mode are straightforward: Championship Series, Stunt Park, and Quick Race. Each is broken down into three different horsepower classes. The races in the Championship Series feature both Battle Race, the traditional style game where you hit boxes to get weapons or defensive gadgets and then you use those in-race, and Pro Race where there are no weapons, but the tracks can be tricky to drive. Winning any of the three Championship Series unlocks more tracks and the higher horsepower series.
There are also two Stunt Parks, Crimson Park and Perilous Park, which are basically free-form courses where you can drive your car at breakneck speeds up ramps, around loop-the-loops and more, and never actually break your neck. Each park also contains coins to pick up (in order to buy unlocked cars), and numerous car parts and trophies. In the Stunt Parks, the car parts boxes and the trophies can be quite difficult to get to, so keep trying, take unusual paths off of jumps, and experiment with different cars as some have greater boost capacity.
Alright, what are all these collectibles I keep talking about? One of the unique elements of the game is that if you race the championship you unlock tracks, but you have to explore those tracks in order to find car part boxes. Once you collect enough of these boxes (and there are 126 of them—get them all for an achievement), you begin to unlock additional CARS that you can then use to drive even faster on the tracks and to reach some of those difficult trophies on the Stunt Parks. It’s an interesting game dynamic and has you bouncing back and forth between the different tracks and Stunt Parks trying to do different things.
But as with any battle racing game, whether it be Mario Kart or GripShift, the real fun is in multiplayer mode. Joy Ride Turbo supports up to four players split-screen locally or you can play with up to eight people online over Xbox LIVE. You can also do the Stunt Parks online which should provide some fun for you and your friends.
At the Checkered Flag
Joy Ride Turbo is a simple battle racing game that has the added lure of hunting for the collectibles. Its single-player component won’t keep you occupied for too long (except for getting those car parts) but the real joy is facing off with friends and doing the nasty to them just as they get near the finish line. The game is available today for only 800 Microsoft Points, and of course, there’s a free demo to try as well. The game is rated E for Everyone.