Tour de France 2023 Review – It’s all downhill from here

From presentation to gameplay, Tour de France 2023 feels stagnant and devoid of creative energy.
Tour De France Promo
Image: Cyanide

In the world of video games, one expects innovation, excitement, and a fresh experience with each new release. Something to justify the astronomical effort that goes into a new title. You want a sequel to expand on the original experience in some meaningful way, giving you some familiar gameplay from the first title you liked so much and something new to love. In the world of cycling video games, however, the Tour de France franchise has long only been a reliable source of disappointment, and the latest installment by Cyanide Studio, Tour de France 2023, is no exception.

Or, as you’ll see on the Steam page, Cyanide. If you look into the previous Tour De France games you will see them instead made by a developer made by Cyanide Studio, not simply Cyanide. While I can’t definitively say the two companies are exactly the same, many players would logically draw the conclusion that Cyanide is a rebranding of the same development company. Possibly done so people won’t draw parallels between Tour 2023 and the past titles?

Tour de France 2023 is essentially a re-release of the previous three installments of the series, Tour de France 2022, Tour de France 2021, and Tour de France 2020. It’s evident that Cyanide Studio has done little more than slap a new coat of paint on an old game. The absence of any significant improvements or innovative features is a slap in the face to fans who were hoping for something fresh and exciting.

Perhaps the most “innovative” aspect of Tour de France 2023 is the addition of a new map, taking place on the real-life Tour de France’s 2023 circuit instead of that of previous years. The game seems to justify its release solely on the fact that a new Tour de France happens every year, with the developers making a “new” title each year with roster and map changes to reflect this. This is a phenomenon we have in American Football games, too, and one I absolutely hate.

Regardless, you should judge a game by its gameplay. One glaring offense in Tour de France 2023 is the mind-numbing boredom that permeates every pedal stroke. Rather than capturing the exhilaration and intensity of professional cycling, Cyanide Studio delivers a lackluster experience that feels more like watching paint dry than participating in a thrilling sporting event. The gameplay fails to ignite any sense of competition or adrenaline rush, leaving players with the monotonous task of tapping buttons in a robotic fashion as they cycle through predictable routines.

In defense of the developers, I don’t know exactly how you can translate professional cycling to a video game in a way that’s exciting. Real cycling is impressive to watch due to the sheer physical effort required from the athletes to perform. Watching a bunch of computer men on screen just didn’t translate the same for me. Unlike motorcycle or car racing games, there isn’t a huge sense of speed or loud, rumbling engines to add extra excitement to the virtual experience. If anything, this game made me just want to go ride my bike.

Tour De France Racing
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

A damning aspect of the game that really fights that already failing sense of immersion is the lazy reuse of the same asset for every rider. As you pedal past the other racers, the sheer lack of effort in differentiating between competitors becomes painfully evident, with little to nothing differentiating any of the other athletes except for jersey color. Cyanide Studio’s decision to cut corners and disregard the importance of individuality and competition is nothing short of inexcusable. It’s an insult to players, especially Tour de France fans who would play a game like this just for the immersion. Fans of these real-life racers would expect attention to detail, hoping to step into the shoes of their favorite real-life bikers. Instead, we’re left with a sea of identical clones pedaling in monotonous harmony, obliterating any excitement or personal investment in the experience.

I simply find myself reeling at the sheer oddity that is Tour de France 2023. Though professional bicycling and the Tour de France is very popular as a sport, and we have no shortage of sports games, the idea to make a biking game still feels strange to me. Professional biking lacks the sense of speed, danger, or impossibility to really sell as a video game fantasy. All of the excitement comes from the physical labor of the competitors involved; in a virtual experience that’s totally nonexistent, leading to artificial stamina mechanics that are just annoying. As a VR game with a home bike, I can see this game being more fun, but as of now it doesn’t even have a VR port and that is clearly not what it was designed for.

There are times when the game executes on its premise well. The sense of speed feels good when you’re really pushing your biker to pass others, slipping through winding roads and roaring down hills. Then there are other times when you’re stuck behind cars or forced to slow down in huge crowds of bikes (admittedly, true to the Tour experience.) A lot of the game is spent using a fast-forward feature to watch your rider move miles at a time without any player interaction.

The game controls fine, which is another positive point to give it, though I found it much better to play with my controller than with a keyboard and mouse, as is often the case for racing games.

Tour De France Sharp Turn
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

The lack of innovation pervades every aspect of Tour de France 2023. The game feels stagnant and devoid of creative energy. At best, Tour de France 2023 is a dreary and unimaginative experience that fails to justify its existence. At worst, its an uninspired and lazy attempt to cash in on the popularity of the prestigious cycling event.

The Final Word

While I may not be the target audience for this game, I can’t imagine it being anything but insulting to fans of the Tour de France it means to draw in. At $40 USD, I wouldn’t call this game anything but a skip.


Tour de France 2023 was reviewed on the PC. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! Tour de France 2023 is available on Steam and the Playstation Store.

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges

Erik Hodges is a hobby writer and a professional gamer, at least if you asked him. He has been writing fiction for over 12 years and gaming practically since birth, so he knows exactly what to nitpick when dissecting a game's story. When he isn't reviewing games, he's probably playing them.

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