Joy Ride Turbo Review

By DavieMarshall,
As we should all surely know the origins of this title sit with Kinect Joy Ride, the controller free original. This time BigPark are back in partnership with Microsoft Studios as the focus shifts to a more 'traditional' approach. How does the title fare in the transition and is it worth a purchase? Let's find out.

Main title

Joy Ride Turbo is a straight out, no holds barred, arcade racer complete with power-ups, destructible environments and multiple routes through each course. Upon firing up the title you're presented with the option to jump in to a Championship Race, Stunt Arena, Time Trial or multiplayer race - the usual standard of options. Let's look at each game mode in more detail.

The Championships

The Championships are divided up into the 100, 200 and 300BHP events, each with around five events with a handful of races across various courses in each. You'll compete against seven other AI control opponents who are certainly capable of offering up some competition in the later difficulties when required of them.

Of course the goal here is to win the race to the finish line over several laps. To do this you'll need to jump longer, drift better, drive faster and be more ruthless with weaponry than your AI chums. But there's even more at stake. Coming first will net you the first prize - cold hard cash. However, what good is cash if you've nothing to spend it on?

This is where the collectible system comes into play. Each course has several routes and combination of paths through each lap. Strewn across these routes of varying difficulties are wooden crates stocked with additional car parts. These must be collected to unlock the remaining vehicles in the game. There are 126 car parts to be found in the game (they are also collected in the Stunt Arenas, more on this later) and something like 42 vehicles to be unlocked as each new vehicle requires three parts to be unlocked.

Another box you will see far more often on each course is the power-up box, crucial to clawing victory from the jaws of defeat. Smashing through these boxes will gift you a reward from a randomised list which includes; Dynamite drop, nitro, full boost bar, homing missile, twin missile, ice storm, shockwave, mine, homing mine and a shield.

It's a classic system which we've seen in the numerous Mario Kart titles and the likes of Crash Team Racing. Is it a revelation? Hardly. But could it be considered a 'serious arcade racer' (there's an oxymoron) without this system? Not at all. The bottom line is, it's still fun all these years and recycles later.

Big air

Boosting is a big part of the game of course, and you can bank boost to be activated with the b button by drifting big or pulling of big-air stunts. You're able to pull some crazy flips, tricks and rolls to quickly up the amount of boost you have stored up the maximum of four boosts at any one time. To be perfectly honest though, you need not bother with these in Championship mode. In fact, grabbing the air required to land big tracks and quickly generate boost slows you down as you'll be the last to land and last to speed away.

Championship mode is playable with up to three other friends through the holy grail of co-op gaming - local co-op! This is a game which lends itself perfectly to some good natured fun amongst friends and it's good to see Microsoft and BigPark acknowledge games like this work okay over Xbox LIVE, but best of all in the same room where the laughs can be shared.

If you're playing alone, a small gripe is that it can feel a little isolated. There's no quirky commentator to shout the names of power-ups as you grab them, none of the recognisable little quips you'd find in Mario Kart. It's just pure SFX. Perhaps this was intentional - keep the avatars mute? But when you're racing against a mute avatar who has generated with the 'glassy default avatar' skin and has no face, it takes away the sense of character from the title.

Stunt Arena

The Stunt Arena is perhaps my favourite of the collection. If anyone here on TA has played the often under appreciated Toy Story 3 and the toy car arena, you'll be instantly familiar with the collectible strewn and power-up laden courses which are - I have to say - pretty darn well put together. There are two arenas each with forty trophies which are dotted around the map with varying levels of difficulty and stealth and countless more vehicle part unlocks that we mentioned earlier.

Your task is to fly around (quite often literally) trying to collect as many of these as possible with no time limit holding you back. You'll need to be creative as you string together your run, bounding off ramps, veering into cannons and exercising tight control round banked corners. It's a lot of fun, and the handling system is pretty much perfect at allowing you to wring the most out of your car.


I would have liked to have seen drifting be a little looser and easier to activate. You can initiate a drift by holding down X and steering hard to one side, but without a power boost of long and very open corner, you'll lose the power slide before long. It's like the track and your wheels are made of two opposing pads of velcro. Handy for chasing down the leader in a Championship race, but it's a little barrier to some exuberant and flamboyant driving.

Time Trial and Multiplayer

As it says on the tin, there are no surprises here. Time Trial allows you to pitch your best efforts into the leaderboard system to gain bragging rights over your friend. This is encouraged with the achievement Endurance Driver which sees you set out to complete fifty consecutive laps without stopping. It's a good idea for an achievement admittedly. Who wants to amble round for fifty laps? Let's do this as quickly as possible and see who we can't beat en-route to the unlock! Very smart use of some points here by the developer.

The all important achievement stats

Time wise here you're looking at perhaps ten to fifteen hours of work. The majority of your time will be spent collecting those final trophies and car parts to complete your collection. I'd like to point out that the final achievement may be slightly glitched. Fellow Newshound litepink informs me that before purchasing your last car to unlock the final achievement, you may want to create an additional back up save in case it doesn't pop which she confirms has happened on her profile.

There's nothing too challenging here, and pretty much all of the achievements will be earned just by playing the game. You needn't worry too much about the AI giving you a beating in the final events either, as the Championship-centric achievements are merely for taking part and completing the event, not winning.

The hardcore achievement aficionado will applaud the decision not to include Xbox LIVE achievements too. That's a bonus!

The final verdict is priced at 800MSP on the Xbox Live Marketplace. At that price, I'd confidently recommend this purchase. I've really been enjoying the casual and laid back nature of the title. Whilst it's not something you'll play for months on end it's a great little 'breather' title as I like to call them.

Need to unwind after a bad session on Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier? Riddler Trophies getting you down in This is a perfect little title you can hop over to and chill out with.

Don't take my word for it though, download the free demo and see what you make of it. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised! For me it's a well earned review score within its under-represented field on Xbox 360.