Why are so many of us suckers for a game that makes you want to throw the controller across the room? I include myself in this group, with a love of difficult games. Those gamers who have been around for a while will be familiar with the Trackmania franchise from its PC days. And those who don’t know it, just think Trials on four wheels. So an easy to pick up, damn near impossible to master type of game. I had trouble getting enough Bronze medals to unlock each racing zone and now need a stack of Silver medals to open up more tracks. A task which seems borderline impossible to me at this stage!
Made up of a series of short tracks, Trackmania Turbo has you pitted against the clock to earn medals and advance to more and more difficult tracks. You can choose to have Gold, Silver, or Bronze ‘ghost’ car to race against and, more importantly, show you the racing lines you need to follow to shave off those extra seconds to achieve a medal. Be warned though, it can be pretty depressing when a ghost car keeps leaving you in the dust because you continuously fail to take the right line through the first corner. And that is speaking from experience! Also pay attention to the big warning signs around the tracks. Keep left means just that. You will also find yourself working through four quite different types of car, from the squirrelly Dune Buggy through to the stuck like glue Formula One style car. Each one handling very differently.
As simple as Trackmania Turbo may seem it is surprisingly deep. You have a vast number of online and solo options as well as the ability to create and upload your own creations. This adds basically unlimited tracks for you to race. And with the varying styles of car and track combinations you could be playing for a very long time, as long as you don’t chuck your controller at the TV when you miss a medal by a second for the umpteenth time. I guess it is a bit like golf, a great round is always just a shot away, hell even a hole in one is possible and it is that possibility that will keep drawing you back to Trackmania Turbo.
Trackmania Turbo looks and plays great. Yes it isn’t the most graphically intense title out but it does what it needs to do and it does it well. Collision detection is good so you can really hug those corners and know you are safe using your judgement and not have to worry about getting caught up. The music is all high pace, up beat techno stuff, completely unfamiliar to me, but it goes with the pace of the game well. And to add to the international flavour the countdown to the start of each race is randomly in a different language, just for a bit of fun.
Aside from managing, or should that be fluking, a perfect run on many tracks, I may not be able to unlock the harder tracks which is sort of annoying. But with all the user content it is not the end of the world. The greatest thing with Trackmania Turbo is its pick up and play approach and the old ‘just one more try’ attitude it draws out of you. A perfect digital title to have on your console, especially with the party hot seat mode available when having a few beers with friends. And yes, I am upside down in that last picture…