Trackmania is one big chaotic mess of a series. Its history is convoluted, confusing and completely crazy, but it does tend to bring a little bit of nostalgia. Just imagine that the first installment of the series came out in 2003, being followed by about a dozen other on at least as many platforms. Most games include time trial races on ingenious, stunt-filled tracks.
The latest installment is a remake of Trackmania Nations, which is a free online spin-off that was released back in 2006. It is called Trackmania and the “mania” part of the name definitely belongs there. It had quite a few delays, but the game is finally out. There is a free-to-play version, but hardcore Trackmania fans can choose the subscription model.
The latest game features the peculiar courses that we are used to. They are all full of loops, jumps and tilty little bits. The focus of the latest installment is on online leaderboards, so most of the time playing it will be spent trying to beat your best time and racing ghosts of other players. The game does not demoralize you by having you compete against the best players in the world, which somehow manage to finish a 2 minute lap in 15 seconds. Instead, you are pitted against people with similar results to yours, so you are encouraged to continuously improve while not feeling overwhelmed. Honestly, seeing so many racers on a track feels nice, even if you know that they are not actually there.
The basic features of the game are alright. They are known as “starter access” and enable you to race on 25 official tracks, as well as some tracks created by the players themselves. The is both solo and online progression, so there is no particular style of playing that is encouraged.