Trackmania DS

In Platform mode there isn’t a time limit and the only objective is to reach the finish line with as few restarts and possible. Sounds easy, but along the way you might fall off the track, not have enough speed to make a jump or make any number of mistakes sending you hurtling to metal-crunching doom.

Puzzle mode gives you a predetermined set of track pieces and the idea is to build a track, race on it and get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, sometime passing points C and D on the way. There usually weren’t enough pieces for a traditional run from start to finish, which means you’ll have to improvise with jumps, speed boosts and trying to crash at just the right angle.

With virtually no load times, running out of excitement wasn’t an issue for us. We fell off the tracks a lot, but kept retrying, since it was easy to jump to another race or restart from the last checkpoint. Trackmania seems to be a solid racer, focusing on skill instead of power-ups. It’s fun for purists, but people who prefer a flashier game might get bored with the three types of tracks and limited cars. It should be out on schedule, March 17.

Jan 20, 2009