Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

TrackMania 2 Canyon

Review: TrackMania 2 Canyon

5:00 PM on 09.19.2011 // Jordan Devore
  @DtoidJordan

Even if you haven't touched a TrackMania before, you likely are familiar with the series through its often remarkable presence on YouTube. If it's a clip of an inspired, logic-defying track in which the person playing seems infallible, chances are it's TrackMania footage you're watching.

The question then usually comes down to "Is it as fun to watch as it is to play?" Well, is it?

TrackMania 2 Canyon (PC)
Developer: Nadeo
Publisher: Ubisoft
Released: September 14, 2011

MSRP: $24.99

Despite there being solid racing experiences in Forza Motorsport, Gran Turismo, and likely whatever Criterion Games is working on next, you can count on Nadeo to give gamers something you won't find elsewhere. I get the clear sense that they aren't taking a different approach just to be the outlier, rather, they're making what they enjoy.

Having found a successful niche for itself, the French studio is now branching out with ManiaPlanet, a platform for its "Mania" line which will eventually include other titles with a similar focus on user-generated content. In order to play TrackMania 2 Canyon, you'll need to use ManiaPlanet, so I figure it's worth a mention.

At present, there isn't much to say about it; you sign up for a (presumably) cross-game account, have the option of sending messages to other users, and that's about as glamorous as it gets. Those worried about ManiaPlanet getting in the way needn't. If your Internet happens to go down, you can play the game as usual offline, excluding any online-oriented features, naturally. Solo races, track editing, replays, etc. are all fair game.

I'll go ahead and assume the name "TrackMania 2 Canyon" comes off as equally weird to most of you. Basically, this installment brings significantly improved visuals, a single canyon environment (hence the title), and other miscellaneous refinements you'd expect to see in a new iteration of a racing game series.

Single-player consists of increasingly difficult (and imaginative) tracks which you race across in time trials. The majority can be completed in under forty seconds, and at any time during a race, you can instantly start over. By default, you're up against a single AI opponent, though there isn't any collision -- it's a ghost. Even better, you can download ghosts of the world's greatest players, which ends up being incredibly useful for improving times.

You're scored using medals (gold, silver, bronze), with the unlock of additional levels often requiring only a decent performance. Of the 65 levels included, I was able to play all but the final 15. Like I said, the game gets tough. Given the price, there's a reasonable amount of pre-made content to play.

What's interesting about TrackMania 2 is how refined everything is; it's simplified in all the right ways. The entire game is played using only a few buttons, one of which is dedicated merely to restarting. As someone who has never felt particularly proud of his in-game drifting skills, I must say, drifting here is an absolute joy. It's intuitive, and doesn't feel overly sensitive.

While Nadeo has cut out much of the fat -- there is no "career" to speak of -- make no mistake, there's plenty of complexity and subtle movement that goes into achieving the very best times. Progression and gear unlocks might be the norm, but it's refreshing to see Nadeo didn't feel obligated to include any of that functionality. The focus is on the racing itself, first and foremost.

I'm much more into arcade-style racing than straight-up simulation, and I felt right at home with this game. To preemptively answer the obligatory question, yes, there is car damage, but it's cosmetic in nature.

As hinted at earlier, TrackMania is best known for its ridiculous courses. Think Matchbox cars on a grander scale. There are loops and absurd jumps in the Nadeo-created tracks, sure, but none of them get too crazy. And that's where the in-game track editor and community at large come in.

Tracks are built using a block-based system that couldn't be much easier to use. If you're not skilled when it comes to these things, you can even go with a simplified editor. Alternatively, you can count on someone else to dream up an insane track, and they probably will. There's also a rather involved video replay editor to tinker with. Sadly, it's a bit too far beyond my grasp, but I can appreciate the amount of depth being offered.

Multiplayer works similar to the single-player races described above. Servers rotate levels every so often, but in that given time, you're free to race again and again, hopefully improving your placement during each attempt. While doing this, other players can be seen as well; once again, there is no collision.

I haven't come across any truly spectacular fan-made tracks yet, but TrackMania 2 hasn't been out for too long. As players transition to this latest installment, I'm sure we'll start to see creativity impact the online scene.

TrackMania 2 Canyon offers just enough tweaks to the formula to make it worth the download. Visually, it's not the prettiest racer out there, but the lighting can be particularly gorgeous at times and the system requirements are very reasonable. As the community settles in again, the amount of content will only grow from here given the excellent creation tools included.

This is a series that is able to do its own thing successfully, and that's great -- the end result is refined, hard to put down, and worth getting into for first-time players. At such a budget price, there's not much to complain about.



THE VERDICT

9

TrackMania 2 Canyon - Reviewed by Jordan Devore
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jordan Devore, Managing Editor, Co-EIC
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidJordan Tips
Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random. Disclosure: I backed Double Fine Adventure and Awesomenauts: Starstorm on Kickst... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
TrackMania 2 Canyon


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Desert Golfing - The Model Mobile Game

Review: Pony Island - Maneiac Crop!

The meaning of The Witness (Part 1 of 3)

Do you even Bebop?

Cblogs of 02/04/16 + Bayonetta and some other one I suppose

Waifu Wars: Your Cruel Device, Your Blood Like Ice..

Best Kickstarter implosion EVER as dev money is spent on booze and strippers

Video Gaming Bits -- Dungeons& Dragons: Tower of Doom

Is Planet Earth more than Blue, such as An?

Cblogs of 2-3-16 + Umbra Smash Climax-isms!

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Samsneeze avatarSamsneeze
Maurice White, Earth, Wind and Fire founder died yesterday and 2016 continues to make it clear that it gives no shits about your favorite musicians and people.
Jinx 01 avatarJinx 01
I have a bunch of unfinished blogs from the last two years when I had too much anxiety to finish them. So expect a bunch of probably outdated blogs from me soon ;p
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
If anyone wants to peep me having a quick, unpolished go at some cheesy Sonic music, the fun is here: https://soundcloud.com/justin-stewart-57/i-am-all-of-me-wip
Torchman avatarTorchman
Daily reminder that your waifu is shit. That is all.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
While fighting a Lucas, I did Bayo's up taunt, then I remembered what happened to Lucas's Mom in Mother 3. Now I feel bad.
Xeo avatarXeo
Anyone played Digimon Cyber Sleuth yet? I'm hearing great things about it and strongly considering picking it up. Thoughts?
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
São Paulo's samba schools parade is about to start on tv! It is not as good as the one from Rio de Janeiro, but still pretty good and nice to watch. Also, there is some ice cold beer waiting for me and my girl. Yeah!
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Well, the Guinness is poured, and the Waifu Wars article is under way. Can you guess who it's going to be?
PappaBear avatarPappaBear
Impromptu Quiplash Stream Pre-FNF Come join https://gaming.youtube.com/watch?v=793yaFcpJyI
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
After a long struggle, I seem to have landed in a dream job. It's very exciting and nerve wracking, but I'm happy with where I ended up.
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
Got myself a job for the summer! Now celebrating with some freshly bought Gravity Rush.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
REMEMBER: Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is on PS+ for PS3! For PS3/PS4 owners like me who have barely used their PS3's since the PS4, remember that Sony still supports it!
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
*Giggles with glee* img I am loving XCOM 2, even what little of the story I've seen is great! Lost one solider in the first mission. After if course completely failing it XD
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
So uh... I didn't know Nordic was handing out free upgrades of Darksiders 2 Dethinitive Edition for us owners of the original game + all DLC on PC. I wonder if it's even worth installing compared to the original release.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Change the text to Destructoid. Make the alien Mr. Destructoid. And make the skulls either just Jonathan Holmes, or all staff. [img]http://www.destructoid.com/ul/339243-/xcom2box-noscale.jpg[/img] We can make it into an unofficial shirt if it rocks?
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Can any California based Dtoiders confirm/deny how accurate American Truck Simulator is, scenery wise? Apart from the total lack of pedestrians, that is.As a Brit I remember playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 and not recognising a damn thing about Manchester.
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
Wario getting a look at dat ass the only way he knows how.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Okay, what the hell is Youth Health Mag and why is it always sited as a news source?
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
I changed my avatar. You want to sue me? My lawyers are ready to trademark suing me so you have to pay me first.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
The multiple flavors of the soundtrack found in the options of Crypt of the Necrodancer is one of the coolest things I've ever seen a rhythm game do. Been happily replaying the earlier levels just to see a different artist's take on Danny B's original.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -