TrackMania DS Review

By Greg Bemis - Posted Mar 24, 2009

To call TrackMania DS a simple racing game misses much of the point. Oh sure, there's racing to be had. Blisteringly fast, precision affairs that push the player to complete each course absurdly fast. There are other challenges to be had, like a fiendishly difficult platform mode where you merely attempt to make it to the finish line in one piece. Or puzzle mode where you use the game's robust track creation tools to complete a track in progress and then race it for the fastest time.

The Pros
  • Super smooth and fast racing
  • Lots of single-player content
  • Robust track editor
The Cons
  • Graphics can make tracks hard to see
  • No internet multiplayer

Of all the places for TrackMania, a quirky PC racing game that’s oft misunderstood to go, the technologically challenged Nintendo DS would be the last place we’d expect.  And yet, here it is.  And quite playable, no less.

Here he comes.  Here comes Speed Racer.

TrackMania DS ReviewTo call TrackMania DS a simple racing game misses much of the point.  Oh sure, there’s racing to be had.  Blisteringly fast, precision affairs that push the player to complete each course absurdly fast.  There are other challenges to be had, like a fiendishly difficult platform mode where you merely attempt to make it to the finish line in one piece.  Or puzzle mode where you use the game’s robust track creation tools to complete a track in progress and then race it for the fastest time.

Well, all of the above is present in TrackMania DS, and honestly, it’s really very impressive to see the game running so darned fast with no hint of slowdown or chop.  Controls are adequate, although the D-pad can be a little too touchy.  And while the game certainly looks good, the lower resolution on the DS screen and the wacky nature of many of the tracks can make it especially tough to figure out just where you need to go.

A Rocket in your Pocket

TrackMania DS ReviewStill, that compulsion to keep plugging away at the numerous single-player challenges feel right at home DS.  TrackMania is a perfect quick fix game; something to whip out and play while you’re killing time.

For longer stretches of gaming, TrackMania DS also has a track editor that, thanks to the stylus controls, makes creating your own tracks and challenges a snap.  The game also supports multiplayer with up to 3 others on a single card.  The only thing missing from all this is internet play, which is a pretty major feature in the PC versions of the game.

Checkered Flag

Still, the amount of single-player content is huge, and the high level of challenge ensures that you won’t breeze through this game in a day or two.  Fans of traditional racing games might find the emphasis on speed and precision over direct competition off-putting, but it’s safe to say there’s no other racing game out there like TrackMania for your DS.

Article Written By: Greg Bemis