Thursday, 7 April 2011

Possibly The Best First Party Nintendo Racer, Nintendo Never Made: Game 0004

Its testimony to Trackmania's beautifully punishing pursuit for perfect control that an instant restart key has been mapped to a face button of the Wii's classic controller. Trust me. You'll be using it. A lot. Trackmania is a refreshingly unique experience, presenting ghost racing challenges with the mental dexterity required of the very best puzzle games. Each track is a test of the most subtle nuances of control, where finding the perfect racing line is not only recommended but essential to victory. The slightest brush of your vehicle against anything that isn't road and its back to the start to try and perfect it all over again. See, I told you you'd be using that restart button.

Heed my warning: Trackmania devours time, as moreish as a movie bag of Doritos. Perfecting the most punishing courses (especially the extremely challenging author medal) can often take more than a couple of hours. But its the 'Nintendo like' application of the game's central mechanic, this quest for the perfect racing line, that keeps you coming back for more. Like the best of Nintendo's first party racers Nadio's tight controls assure you, you can always do that little bit better.

The courses are the star of Trackmania. From sprawling, sun kissed coastlines that rival anything in Outrun 2 through futuristic stadiums with loops that would make Sonic's head spin to raised plateau tracks that wouldn't look out of place with a monkey in a gashapon capsule bashing about them. Each set of tracks, be they desert, stadium, coast etc. has a designated vehicle, varying distinctively in handling which serves to keep the challenges fresh.

Visually the game presents an extremely crisp, minimalist world built purely for racing. The scant track details providing mental signposts for which lines to hit to smash those course records. Music varies from twanging hillbilly guitar riffs to the cheesiest EuroDance anthems, but it all seems to add to the charm. To put it short Trackmania is arcade racing with brains. And that's before I mentioned the track editor. Oh go on then...just one more go...

Favourite Moment: The look on your friend's face when he's on his seventh try in a row and you ask when is it your go?

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