Release Date: June 27th, 2013
Rated: E for Everyone
It’s always nice to get into a great racing game. There is a ton of racing games to choose from, but it seems like they have to be Triple A titles to taken seriously. However, what we have here is a racing game that focuses on the thrill of the race without the shiny bells and whistles. TrackMania² Stadium may be a small fish in a big pond, but it is a prize in of itself.
I’ve played plenty of racing games throughout my gaming life, from F-Zero to Forza 4, yet I don’t recall ever playing a game where all you need to do is drive and steer. No braking, no boosts, no position numbers, nothing, it’s just you racing at high speeds against the clock for various medals.
The level of addictiveness this game produces is unprecedented. There are many things to choose from when starting up TrackMania² Stadium. Staring with Solo Play you have over 65 tracks split between 5 difficulties, Multiplayer can be standard races or any of the user created game modes, and the Editors section allows you to make your own tracks.
When racing there are no barriers to protect you from flying off the track so you must learn to not hold the accelerator key all the time or you’ll just continue to fly off courses and run into things. In case of an emergency there is the backspace key that resets your vehicle back onto the track if you happen to get stuck or flip your vehicle.
One of the strangest things, in my opinion, is that when you finish a race there is an option to “Improve” other than simply saying “Retry”. When players see this option they may have a feeling of…encouragement! Replaying these tracks to obtain the best time or a gold medal never feels like a chore. When going through the tracks, trying to maintain optimal speed and getting the timing of turns just right, there is a sense of pure exhilaration. In the end you feel like you want to master all the tracks while the game retains its fun factor throughout.
If you’re are the creative type then the TrackMainia games are well known for providing a robust track editor and TrackMania² Stadium is no exception. Create wild and twisted tracks that you can in turn share with the entire community. Not only that, but within the community there is leaderboard to keep track of all the top racers around the world. But wait, there’s more! Joining ManiaPlanet grants you the tools to create your own game modes and even make videos.
TrackMania² Stadium couldn’t have been a more appropriate of a title as you race through an arena like environment, but the level of detail is quite impressive. The slick look and insanely fun tracks will keep pulling you back in for more.
You only need to use 6 keys in any given race: up, down, left, right, backspace, and Esc. Up accelerates, left and right steers, down reverses and its astounding how fun and intense these short races can be using only these four keys. The responsiveness and tight controls are some of the best in PC racing.
TrackMania² Stadium is one of the most intensely competitive racing experiences this side of PC gaming. Not only does it have the easiest racing controls ever, but also an array of other activities to keep you entertain for a good long while. For $10 dollars this excellent racing sandbox game deserves your time and attention. Blood-pumping adrenaline flows through you as you do all you can to maintain complete control of the track and time to earn a gold medal. As for TrackMania² Stadium it definitely deserves that gold medal.
Replay Ability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5