Envision Trackmania Turbo as the improbable (impossible, actually) evolution of slot cars. Denying the existence of real world physics, Trackmania’s cars spin and turn with a satisfying zip. Drifts are gloriously overdone, and since Namco won’t resuscitate their Ridge Racer series, Trackmania provides a fix for ripping up rubber around the corners.
There are some tells that Trackmania references the great PSP racer/puzzler GripShift. Punchy levels are made to be replayed to shave seconds from near-perfect runs. Of course, Trackmania is the senior here. GripShift simply perfected the ideas which Turbo now borrows.
There may be a lack of aesthetic appeal – Trackmania’s asphalt carries a real world sheen, feeling artistically defeatist – but the short-lasting, grind-happy hook in a hunt for ephemeral medals is there anyway.
In a sense, Trackmania is invincible. Even under the ungainly banner of UbiSoft and their dopey “sign-in to play” Club, online functions stretch the game to infinity. User courses spawn a colorful community of creative types – Etsy, but with free race tracks. The content is ceaseless as long as the servers are, and thanks to some forward thinking designers, there is enough solo challenge material to keep Trackmania alive past the expiration date.