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!


Roses are black, PS4 lights are blue; This is a game, and it has valkyries too?

Cblogs of 02/10/16 and WONDER-isms

Modern face of survival horror

Discussion Discussion on Games

PStoid Episode 38: Doomed from the Box Art

Cblogs of 2/9/16 - Only Slightly Late Edition

Narrative Mistakes: Mass Effect's Reapers As Primary Villains

Journey to Become a Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast

Waifu Wars - The End

Hindsight Part II: Unreleased Games of the Past

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Nathan D avatarNathan D
Thanks to Dtoid I now have this gif in my life, and I can't stop laughing. I seriously can't get over it.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Finished SOMA today , was able to do a second run without enemies with the "Wuss" mod, found it actually more frightening has you get more time to think about what is really going instead of doing hide-and-seek with the AI (Alien Isolation I miss you)
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
I stayed up late last Saturday writing a Dead Space 4 proposal outline. Solved every plot hole, had plenty of badass moments. This is the state I live in, people.
Torchman avatarTorchman
WHY DO THEY GET SOUNDS BUT PIKACHU AND CHARIZARD CAN'T. WTF
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Finished my Storge set and 4/5ths of that was on the clock today o_O I also got a dragonlord eyepatch, which is totally practical covering the right eye when Cyndel's hair covers up the left eye.
Lawman avatarLawman
So Zack Furniss told me I should play Dying Light on Hard. Guess who's never listening to Zack Furniss again? :-/
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Deadpool spoilers: He gets cancer.
beargreasey avatarbeargreasey
So Kanye just announced his new game, Only Once. It looks beautiful and personal. It's just a shame that I still have no idea what it is.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I dunno why people are getting so huffy about Windows Store / XbOne Quantum Break crossbuy. It means double the gamerscore for me, and AW and AW:AN are rereleasing on the One so I'll have owned them 3 times over. Great games.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I once considered pitching an idea for a Dtoid Australia podcast, but then I realised it'd probably just be Zyk and I getting drunk on Foster's and complaining about Atlus for half an hour each week while incessantly calling each other cunts.
Parismio avatarParismio
New Splatfest is Pokemon Red vs Pokemon Blue. Im Blue Team bitches!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Been sick but these pills are fixing me right up. [img]http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-don-t-call-it-a-comeback-i-ve-been-here-for-years-ll-cool-j-63-60-01.jpg[/img]
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
Why is it impossible to find a raid group in Destiny? Am I just cursed or something? All I want is to get a clan and do a raid.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I don't even care how the rest of this day is.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
*Starts up XCOM: UFO Defense* Alright, I'm ready to do this...hmmmm...not much going on. Space ship! Shot it down! Lets fight, I've played XCOM...wait...what the fuck do all these buttons do? Alright I got it now! Annnnnd 1/6 soldiers survived. Hmmm.
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Going to Deadpool in 45 minutes. I can't wait to see Ryan Reynolds junk.
jak2364 avatarjak2364
http://www.game.co.uk/en/dying-light-the-following-the-spotlight-edition-only-at-game-298773 I'll need to ask for a credit line increase, but sure, why not?
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Hnnnggg. My End of Evangelion video I made like 2 years ago has almost 700,000 views. I never thought it'd get this far. It was the first video I ever made and just did it for fun. Guess I have an eye for editing and an ear for music placement.
gajknight avatargajknight
I want to listen to classical music. But I'm in a funky mood right now. The solution?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Been watching Better Call Saul, being a pretty big fan of Breaking Bad, and it's been pretty decent. Like a b-side to BB. But, this scene with Trevor (GTAV)-famous Steven Ogg has been my highlight. There's more to it before this, but it's the best part.
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 -