858th played so far

Genre: Racing/Puzzle
Platform: Nintendo DS
Year of Release: 2008
Developer: Firebrand Games/Atlus
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive/Atlus

I had an amazingly good time a while ago with Trackmania: United Forever for the PC. The racing felt fun and the puzzle and track building was a pretty fun twist. It wasn’t the first to do it, but it worked incredibly here as well.

There was a DS version released in the same year – the numbers in the list are consecutive – and it’ll be interesting to see whether the fun transfers. The trackbuilding certainly should with its touchscreen.

Our Thoughts

Somehow, Trackmania DS doesn’t work as well as its PC-bound cousin. The game doesn’t look as good – something you’d expect from the DS anyway – but it doesn’t parse as well and probably could have used a pass to adjust to all of that.

This extends to the racing. It’s fine and at times fun, but the controls aren’t precise enough to really stay fun. It’s clunky and I ended up struggling with cornering – jumping off the track and losing any speed, without having a way to adjust. It’s difficult to get this right in other platforms, depending on the controls you use, but it doesn’t feel tuned right here.

That’s even more of a disadvantage as you need to earn coins to unlock different tracks and other modes – you don’t get much to start with and have to do pretty well to get these quickly. It’s not a clear process anyway, but also takes a lot longer than feels fun. This includes being able to get to puzzle mode – which doesn’t matter as much, as while this was the highlight of the PC version, here the editor controls are too unintuitive to use it the way you should.

Final Thoughts

While Trackmania DS was an okay racer, Trackmania: United Forever is so much better that it makes this feel bad. If it was released a decade earlier, it would have been a nice highlight, but here it feels like it just doesn’t work as it should.