TT Isle of Man – Ride on the Edge, much as expected, is a superbike racing simulator that enables players to take part in the titular event. This a particularly taxing event in real life, one that just so happens to have taken the lives of many that have participated. Though, for as tragic as this event has proven to be, it’s also both remarkable and beautiful. It goes without saying that Kylotonn, a developer that’s been very hit-and-miss with their latest releases, may well have bitten off more than they can comfortably chew. You see, TT Isle of Man isn’t a bad game, but in the midst of the several racing games that have already been set loose recently, it struggles to truly stand out.
The game comes with a shallow pool of content to dive into, across single-player and multiplayer. Quick Race, Time Attack, and Career mode rounds up the solo-play content, with intuitive Tutorials on offer to feed you into the basics of play. Unlike many of Milestone’s racing games, Kylotonn has implemented their Tutorials exceptionally well. Situated straight in the solo-playlist rather than being buried under a flurry of menus, this is the first place you will want to pay a visit if you’re new to the scene. Multiplayer, on the other hand, offers a online and local play, across a sizable portion of different parameters. There’s nothing special here, just your standard set of tools to race against real players.
The Career mode is without a shadow of doubt, the backbone of the entire package. That being said, and not too unlike the real world event, it’s a very challenging experience that’s going to demand patience and perseverance. This may well be described as a racing simulator, but it would much more fitting to describe this as an ultra-hardcore street racer. I guess many would argue that that’s the whole point. After all, this very unique event shouldn’t lean anywhere near being arcadey, not even in the slightest. However, I couldn’t help but constantly feel as though this game is solely focused on a niche band of gamers, a band that I clearly don’t belong to.
If you favor the likes of F1 and AC over Forza, you may be more willing to forgive what’s in the proverbial box. I’m not going to pull on TT Isle of Man too harshly, because at the very least its mechanics and functionalities do go hand in hand to create something quite special. It’s just a shame that this seems to be exclusive to the aforementioned Career mode. I’m not going to tell you that the Career mode is without fault, it’s not, but it is the most well rounded piece of content within, make of that what you will. The game does dish up some respectable tracks, including; Herfordshire Circuit, Super Hillside, Snaefell Mountain Course, Old Blair Forest Race, and more. When playing in Quick Race or Multiplayer, you’re able to select the time of day on each track, too, which is a nice touch.
Bikes are limited to just Supersport and Superbike, with Sidecars arriving as a free update in the near future. Riders include the likes of Michael Dunlop, Peter Hickman, Ian Hutchinson, and other famous talent, but outside of its authenticity, TT Isle of Man lacks refinement and polish, but we’ll get to that shortly. Starting out the game and going straight into the action, it becomes immediately apparent that this game demands your full and undivided attention. Settings for several assists help to alleviate the difficulty a little bit for newcomers, but even with assists on, the game remains relentless and unforgiving. The physics are well set, so much so that even the slightest tap of the analog at the wrong moment, can cost you dearly.
Mercifully, though far from ideal, the AI don’t tend to get in your way, nor do they seemingly acknowledge your existence. This helps to free-up some focus, which is key, because your true opponent in TT Isle of Man is the track. Brake too late for a sharp corner, and you’ll have a mammoth task trying to avoid colliding with the environment. Speed up too much from a corner and you’re going to lose control faster than you can blink. It really is a surreal and dedicated experience that never comes close to holding your hand. It pays off to study the track carefully, and the game certainly becomes easier once you have a rough idea as to how the game functions and how each track plays out, but even then it’s a struggle to maintain composition.
The slightest fault is generally hard to overcome, so hard that I often found myself just giving the game my screw-up with little argument. Again, TT Isle of Man is not for the faint of heart. This is, by and large, a racing game for the hardcore gamer. The aim of the game is to win and earn money, which can go towards purchasing (and upgrading) new bikes for alternate events. The gameplay structure doesn’t waver too much in comparison to other racing games, which is a good thing if you ask me. Each rider is animated exceptionally well, which gives the game an added layer of realism. Though, that’s not to say that the visuals are totally on point, far from it, as a matter of fact. The same can be said about some of Kylotonn’s design choices.
Let me make one thing clear. TT Isle of Man isn’t an ugly game. It does, however, lack that finishing layer of polish that really would have helped it to stand out. Textures can prove to be quite bland, and on several occasions, delayed rendering will rear its ugly head. Trees and lampposts will pop up out of nowhere, rather than from the horizon point, which tends to be quite distracting. That’s not to mention the awkward camera angles that can also go on to hinder your concentration. When you take into account that this game demands so much of your focus, it’s disheartening to come off your bike simply due to double-glancing at a magical manx. They may not be huge gripes, but these are merely a couple of examples from a collective that pulls TT Isle of Man shy of being great.
Despite its shortcomings, TT Isle of Man will no doubt impress those that can bond with its mechanics and forgive its lack of content. It would have been nice to see more tracks, riders, and bike classes, especially since this game is asking for a full AAA price investment. Though with that being said, there’s enough longevity within the modes on offer to keep fans going for ten hours or more. One thing I will say about this game, is that it’s loud, very very loud. It sounds authentic, though, with heavy pops and long drawn out vehicle-unique revving from the moment you pursue the finish line. It’s fair to say that this game is going to polarizing, but in my opinion, when all is said and done, TT Isle of Man could have been much better.
TT Isle of Man will no doubt impress those that can forgive its lack of content and bond with its hardcore mechanics. This is certainly one of Kylotonn’s better efforts, but it doesn’t come without fault, namely rendering and camera issues. With that to the side, this is a decent racing game, but it’s far from on par with the best.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.