Platform: PC, XbO, PS4
Price: Rs 999; Consoles: Rs 2,499
It is not easy to accurately describe Trackmania. Think of it as an arcade racing game on rollercoaster-type tracks that defy the laws of physics. This odd combination works better than it sounds and previous versions of this game have just melted away months of free time in multiplayer battles. The new version may be the best version of Trackmania ever.
It ticks all the right boxes — speedy cars, challenging race tracks, brilliant music, creative graphics and tough competition. The developers, Nadeo, have not only managed to elevate a near-perfect product, but have ensured it is accessible to everyone. The racing game has easy system requirements for a modern game. Almost any PC with a functioning graphic card can play this game. Of course, it won’t look as beautiful, but it will still be fun as hell.
The gameplay is straightforward, sure you can do stunts to show off, but most players focus on the racing. The car handling takes getting used to. The cars have a certain level of predictability and nuances that can help you shed those precious seconds. While the learning curve to understand the finer aspects is relatively high, for most beginners the cars should be usable two minutes into the first race. There are four broad environments (Rollercoaster Lagoon, International Stadium, Canyon Grand Drift, Valley Down & Dirty) and they come with own set of kinks in terms of how the car is driven. Playing the solo campaign mode helps ease the transition. So you might want to finish that one before taking on the highly-skilled online players.
As with the previous versions of Trackmania, there is a focus on the multiplayer experience of the game. The campaign mode only lets you experience the pre-made tracks. For the real experience, play the online version where players share their complex, and sometimes frustrating, tracks. Racing against these global players can be a humbling experience. If online multiplayer is not your thing, Trackmania Turbo features a two-player and four-player split screen view, where you can play with four friends on the same screen.
The double driver mode lets you play with another friend using just one car — both of you control the vehicle, and it works best when your friend manages to use the exact same moves as you. It is a fun option that we haven’t seen in any other game.
We also love the track building feature that gives the player an opportunity to create a race track. The tracks can be as whimsical or as boring as you like. The tracks also have to be validated by finishing a round on it. So before you create impossibly hard tracks, remember you have to finish a round on them.
Building the track is simple —all you have to do is go on a clicking spree of the type of track you want. The game generates everything around the track, so your final track doesn’t look out of place.
The key word for Trackmania is ‘obsession’. You will find yourself obsessively replaying tracks over and over again till you have perfected them. The game lets you do this repeatedly in the certain race modes, too. It adds to replay value, but at some point, chasing those ghost cars will leave you frustrated, especially on the more eccentric tracks.
Technically, the game has very few glitches. We found a bit of frame skipping when the Internet got dodgy. Fast-paced racing works work brilliantly online for most parts, and the fact that other cars can’t collide into you lets you catch your breath when the Internet skips a byte or two.
Nadeo has its best foot forward with the new Trackmania Turbo, one of the best racing games to come out in the last few years. The game’s infinite replay value, active online track creators and challenging races will keep it in circulation for years, making Trackmania is a sound investment. Not to mention it is light on your computer resources, and makes for a great party game.