TrackMania 2: Canyon ReviewSeptember 22, 2011
TrackMania 2: Canyon is not your standard racer. I had only briefly played the first TrackMania before launching into this new entry, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
After playing just a few rounds, however, I was addicted. This game favors quick, adrenaline fueled jolts of action rather than the standard 10 minute long course laps. It seems even faster given the insane speeds at which you’ll travel, while driving through totally insane structures, hitting jumps and flying hundreds of feet through the air, hitting loops, and whatever else some crazily creative kid online dreamed up.
Gameplay is simple in TrackMania 2: Canyon. You fire up a course, fire up your engine, and attempt to beat either an online time or a a time established by the game for Bronze, Silver, and Gold trophies. You will probably die over and over again in the process, but thankfully TrackMania 2 has an almost NES- style of ultra-fast reloading, so you’re instantly back at the starting line once again putting your life on the line to beat someone’s time. You keep doing this until you’re satisfied with your time or you unlock a new level, but the game’s addictive nature whispers, “you can do better” and you’ll find yourself replaying sections ad nauseum.
If you have a short memory, this is the game for you. Most tracks only last anywhere from 20 to 45 seconds. These short bursts of gameplay ensure that you will quickly figure out what needs to be done to conquer a course, but you’ll spend a long time perfecting your run.
With such crazy obstacles and masochistic courses being thrown at you, it’s a pleasure to find out that the game has great controls. The cars handle with grace even at incredible speeds, and turn on a dime. Even drifting in this game is a breeze. Having good controls in a game like this is crucial; otherwise a game like this can quickly go from “addictive” to “infuriating”. I can honestly say I have never once gotten frustrated while playing TrackMania 2: Canyon. My advice: use the Xbox 360 gamepad. Its analogue sticks are much better suited to a game like this.
There’s a very LittleBigPlanet-esque fixation on customization here, as shown by the ManiaPLanet platform that the game launches from. In it you can see your leaderboard rankings and read the TrackMania 2 forums. If a friend beats your time, you get a message alerting you; clicking on the message will launch you into a battle against their ghost to beat their time. Yes, it’s all very competitive and addicting.
The graphics are gorgeous. The canyon environments are incredibly varied , and the car models and landscapes look fantastic. The framerate is steady, and even at mach speeds it’s easy to make out what line you need to take to progress through the course.
For only $24.99, you can download TrackMania 2: Canyon on the TrackMania site here. For that price, it’s a steal, and I can’t recommend this game enough for all fans of the racing genre, especially of the arcade kind.