Fandel Mulkey On October 26, 2011 at 11:37 am

Trackmania 2 Canyon ScreenshotOne of the most popular genre’s of gaming involve sitting in a cockpit with wheels. It also tends to be one of the most generic, in fact, you can pretty-much divide the entire genre into two type of games: Racing games which simulate real-world series like NASCAR and F1; arcade-action games like like Hot Pursuit and Burnout which throw out the simulation aspect and focus on speed and crashes and the occasional gimmick (racing from the police).

What makes Track mania refreshing is that it’s not so much of a racing game as it is a time-trial game where you have to beat the times of other players around the world. Most courses are less than a minute long and there really aren’t many traditional lap races; even then, you’re still racing against the clock rather than other cars.

Of course, racing against the clock would get boring pretty quick if you were just racing on normal courses. Trackmania 2’s courses are a stunt drivers dream — or potential nightmare depending on later courses. The courses start off with a simple ramp-or-two; but soon you’ll be dealing with 360 degree loops, racing vertically up walls and hard breaking through 90 degree turns, all on a single times course.

Graphically, the game isn’t going to win any awards. While there are a ton of settings that allow the game to be run on almost any PC, when run at the highest settings, the game, while looking nice — doesn’t stand apart from other games like Forza, Hot Pursuit or even Burnout. The cars do look pretty detailed on max settings; damage in particular looks nice, but once again, other games have done it better (Burnout).

Online is pretty detailed, the game has it’s own network, Mania Planet. In it, you can make and edit your own tracks, edit and paint your own card similar to Forza, and compete online with all other players around the world. Even though you’re racing on the same track, you’ll still essentially racing against the clock as there’s no collision between the cars. Track selection is pretty-much unlimited, thanks to the Track editor mentioned earlier. Going against the grain when it comes to many recent PC games, there is even local mutiplayer options such as Lan and even split screen. Though I do wonder just how many players are going to actually play in split screen on a PC game, including the option shows that Nadeo pretty-much thunk of everything.


Virtually unlimited replay-value thanks to the track editor. The driving is solid and the races are quick, which is great if you only need a quick fix.


Nothing spectacular, but they do the job. Nothing really wrong technically. The biggest knock is that there just isn’t any real variety in the environments.


It does it’s job, but while the sound effects are fine, the music — what little there is — is completely forgettable. Still, music it’s a very minor part overall in the game so it’s not a big deal.


A really fun game that might not get the attention it deserves. While the idle of a game consisting of time-trials may seem boring; racing these tracks will be some of the most fun you’ll have driving a car this year.

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