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Trackmania DS - Review Part 2

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Some of these problems might have been avoided, or at least mitigated if there were some kind of track map, or even guide arrow pointing to your next checkpoint. However, there isn't even so much as a preview of the level before you start. While Trackmania has always been about trial and error to some extent, its hard to imagine even the most patient and forgiving fans fumbling their way through all of the platform levels.

On a more positive note, as with Race Driver GRID, Trackmania DS comes with a fantastic track editor. Using the Trackmania track editor is somewhat more challenging than the GRID one, largely because this time you have to work in three dimensions. Nevertheless it is possible to fit some spectacular tracks together very quickly. Frustratingly, though perhaps predictably, some track pieces are locked away and must be bought from the in-game shop, using currency earned by playing the game.

Which brings us nicely to puzzle mode, which is certainly innovative. Using a limited number of track segments, you must build a track to take you from start to finish and across any checkpoints that the game throws in too. This is similar to the track designing challenges in GRID, but way more fun since you get to experiment with jumps and other crazy track pieces. Again, the puzzles become pretty challenging later on and often for the wrong reasons, but at least, having constructed the track yourself, you have a better knowledge of the layout.

Race Driver GRID - Screenshot
Desert stages are far from barren
Finally, Trackmania wouldn't be Trackmania without some kind of multi-player options. Sadly absent is any kind of internet play, which after the excellent service offered in GRID is something of a bizarre omission, especially considering the strength of the on-line community on the PC. The game does include DS download play and multi-cartridge play. Since we only had one copy of the game, we could only test download play. Download play limits you to racing on the stadium levels. The download times are fairly long and should you choose some of the easier courses to race on you'll spend a lot of time downloading data. Time attack mode works significantly better. This gives players several minutes to race the same course, each time trying to improve their time, with the best time determining the winner.

Download play matches were free of any lag and worked superbly, apart from the unavoidable download times. Needless to say, if you are lucky enough to have a friend with his or her own copy of the game, you can enjoy the full range of multi-player content. This includes all the available tracks and cars. Given the developers calibre we have little reason to doubt that multi-card play works perfectly.

Trackmania DS is far from a failed experiment. The racing is fun, the multi-player is brilliant and the track editor, while occasionally fiddly, works as well as could be expected. Graphically the game is fantastic, looking even more polished than Race Driver GRID. However, there were one or two times when things went wrong, our car didn't connect to a surface like we expected, or simply fell through a solid track section. Luckily, these minor hiccups in the games engine were rare. The games biggest failing is the platform levels, there's simply too much track and not enough detail to figure out what is going on. Sadly, at least in places, the developers of Trackmania DS were just a little too ambitious. Nevertheless, there's still enough quality content here to make it worth tracking down if you are a racing fan.


Adjusted Scores

  Guys Girls
Kids 6/10 4/10
Teens 7/10 6/10
Adults 7/10 6/10

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