Nadeo are bringing back the “blink and you’ll knacker it” racer Trackmania, in a guise that more closely follows 2008’s Nations Forever than the more recent TM Turbo or individual environment releases we’ve seen - and that’s for a good reason. Nadeo are aiming to return to the success of Nations, with a keen eye for inducing a competitive ecosystem around the game.
If you’ve played Nations Forever, then you’ll largely know what to expect here in terms of gameplay. You’ve got yourself a vehicle not too dissimilar to a Formula 1 car, that can drive at some ridiculous speeds around tracks that have twists and turns that would shame even the most hardcore of rollercoasters. Add in various obstacles to the course and you have an easy to learn yet hard to master gameplay loop that will have you returning to tracks time and time again. First to beat your own time and gain a gold medal for the track, but then to go up against the rest of the players in the world, as you’re reminded every time you finish a track where you’re placed on the global leaderboard.
The new track styles on offer really fit well with the overall “stadium” feel of the game too, with the old dirt tracks being replaced with sections that mimic a runner’s track in an Olympic stadium. Sections that curve upwards in the center of the road lend a new challenge to keeping a good line, especially when there’s some curves thrown in, and finally there’s the ice sections, which leave you with little to no grip so you really have to concentrate on getting the best line through it.
The car itself also comes with some nice new details from previous iterations of the Trackmania series. There’s a speedometer display on the rear of the car, and you can see the air-brakes deploying when you’re trying to stop yourself from heading into a wall at 200mph. Also on the back of your car is your current position and should you find yourself upside down, there’s even a small protective bar that pops up to stop your driver's head from being squished on the tarmac (or dirt, or ice..).
All of this will be paired with a sport club licensing style system, where you pay a nominal amount annually to support the title in an ongoing fashion, in return, you’ll garner the ability to customise your car and create tracks with the built-in editor (which is the same one that the developers use to create the tracks too). À la Nations, there will be a free tier of the game, however, with that you’ll be limited to taking part in the official seasons either in solo or multiplayer, as well as play other people’s tracks in the Arcade Channel.