November kicks off with two new Games with Gold that Xbox Live Gold members can download for free.
Trackmania® Turbo is a high-octane racing game with an unbelievable amount of content and a learning curve that starts off with “easy” and ends with “impossible.” Trackmania® is available for the entire month of November and is joined by Nights into Dreams.
This second game is all about improving your score by learning the levels and getting ever more massive combos and chains. You will require precise movements to make the most out of every run and the more you play, the better you will get (I hope).
Available November 1 – November 30
When you play a racer which begins by dropping you onto the track from the air you know you are in for some hectic racing. Trackmania® Turbo does feel very arcade-like in some ways, but that's not a bad thing.
It allows for some truly crazy driving on ridiculous tracks that has you performing loop-de-loop's, long jumps and anything else the track's creator can muster up.
Trackmania® is an easy game to get into, and you'll be securing bronze medals fairly soon, but if you want to attain those sparkling gold medals, you'll need to seriously ramp up your skill level, which requires some dedication to the game.
If you do manage to attain gold medals, you can then try to beat other players around the world to see who can get the best time. When you finish a race, you'll be treated to a rank increase (or decrease) based on the World, Country, and Locality score. If you can't be the top driver in the world, at least you can be the King of Cardiff!
There are hundreds of racing tracks included in the game and the potential for many more due to the track creation kit. Actually, you need never race on the same track more than once if that appeals to you but much the fun comes from incremental improvements in your race time on the same tracks.
A two-player mode called Double Driver exists to make things even more manic and to settle those arguments over “Who's turn is it, anyway?”
If you can manage to rustle up three other buddies or rope your family into playing with you, ye olde 4-player split screen also exists and is a great way to rub victory in people’s faces!
Available November 1 – November 15
Nights into Dreams is a pleasing blast from the past. It was released on the Sega Saturn back in 1996 and made heavy use of the then-new analog controller sticks.
The gameplay is focused on making it through the levels as fast as you can. You'll earn a rank based on your score, and you'll be trying to attain “A” rank for every level. A timer will count down as you play and you also have 20 orbs to collect in every level. Once you have secured these, you'll then progress to a boss fight.
Your avatar is a colorful Peter Pan who bobs and weaves through the sky while earning the highest score that he can. You'll be trying to find all the secret paths that will improve on your score and add to the combo chain that determines the final tally.
This is where the meat of the gameplay is, and discovering as many tricks as you can becomes addictive as you see your rank increase ever higher.
Boss fights are more about how skilled you are in navigating the map and not being caught and serve to add an extra layer of tension. Not only do you have to contend with the timer, being hit by the boss will reduce the timer even more and make it even harder to secure a victory.
Nights into Dreams is either going to be a hit or miss with you. You'll either really enjoy earning a higher score, getting better times, and unlocking new levels, or you'll wonder why anyone ever bothered to waste their time making the game in the first place!
Since it's free to download for Xbox Live Gold Members, it's definitely worth having a couple of playthroughs. It certainly has that old-school charm that many newer games are missing, and anybody from a younger audience will really enjoy it, mainly because you're just flying around most of the time.