In an industry filled to the brim with simulator-style racing games (Forza, GT, Project Cars, Assetto Corsa, etc.) it’s nice to know that some arcady experiences never change and, in fact, get better with time. Trackmania Nations, for example, which has been around in many forms since 2003 (maybe too many iterations, some would say) is one of the most fun arcade racing games that has ever been made. Trackmania2 Stadium, released in 2013, may be the best realized version of the game across the entire series. And the reason for that is incredibly simple.
You go fast, you ignore everything except the track and the time, and if you mess up…YOU START OVER!
Oh, did I mention that the tracks have wonderful little features like speed strips, loop-di-loops, jumps, wall-rides, barrel rolls, and electronic music? No, seriously, the tracks are a beautiful mess of mind-warping chaos where mashups and remixes of the best EDM from the 90s to today play on a loop. Also, these tracks are made by crazy people who ignore the existence of a break button and thread the needle on a track with unparalleled skill. Those crazy, wonderful Trackmania players who can finish a course in world-record time, they’re the ones who’ll be taking the top spots on the big board almost exclusively. You and me? Well, let’s consider ourselves in pretty good shape if we cross a finish line in one piece.
Some might say Trackmania isn’t as boisterous as it was in its heyday, when it was a free-to-play powerhouse. One enjoyed mostly outside the US before free-to-play became a model of choice for an industry in search of a new business model. With a new console version being released this year, players worry that the remaining Trackmania install base will be further split across console and pc. However, there is one undeniable fact: Trackmania, much like the Trials series, is racing mayhem made fun. No matter how many times you try a track, nothing beats the satisfaction of acing a track without any errors or restarts. It doesn’t hurt that Trackmania is a series that has never been one to take itself seriously. In fact, it revels in the absurd. As should you.