Joy Ride Turbo is an enjoyable, inoffensive time waster, and if you enjoy Xbox Live avatar-centric games, then you'll likely find this one a pleasant addition to the catalog, with its cars of all stripes, colorful, different environments, and a stunt park area that offers up an entertaining alternative to the car races that form the meat of the game.
While your avatar pilots the car of your choice (sport, truck, or muscle), you race around tracks that start off basic, and get somewhat more complex, sometimes with crates in the way, other times with roller-coaster styled twists and valleys. When you hit brightly lit panels, your vehicle will rapidly accelerate, and if you hit a ramp, you will zip off into the sky, allowing your Avatar to perform skateboard-styled tricks on top of your car, of a sort, while your transport wibbles and wobbles to the tune of your joysticks. As you hit the ground, you will resume the action alongside your seven opponents, all of whom want you out of the way, but in a rather polite fashion, other racing games considered.
The game feels like a bizarre amalgam of Tony Hawk ProSkater, meshed with a gentle, friendly version of Twisted Metal, but in a good way.
The skateboard-style tricks really come into play in the stunt park area of the game. This is easily my favorite part of Joy Ride Turbo, where you can simply drive wherever you wish in the modestly sized park, hitting ramps, roller-coaster styled rails, and zipping up the sides of canyon walls with well timed boosts and accelerator panels. Defying gravity is always a plus in a video game, and in this case it works to your advantage, as you can find assorted car bonus parts hidden around the tracks and the stunt park, as well as coins and gold trophies that add to your bonus scores.
The three types of cars don't handle much differently from one another, though there is a very slight weight difference. There are a few variations among the sport, muscle, and truck vehicles that you unlock as you complete races and challenges, and the spare pieces you find during your game will automatically update. The coins you collect during your stunt park experience allow you to change the color of the cars, and sometimes add an additional boost to them.
This is a colorful game, and its environments, while simple, are a delight to look at. From the lovely earth tones of a desert (complete with destructible cacti!) at the beginning, to the classy, upscale resort towns of the later levels, each track offers a few unique challenges, enough to keep the game from feeling too repetitive. As far as avatar-based games go, Joy Ride Turbo is among the better ones, and it appears bug and glitch free, which is reason enough to celebrate any game.
Joy Ride Turbo is an enjoyable, entertaining diversion of a game, best for casual play with friends over XBox Live, or for the stunt park while waiting for long downloads. Overall, a good experience, and worth a look for XBox Live Arcade fans.
The Official Verdict: 3.5 out of 5
This review is based on an Xbox copy of the game provided by the publisher.