TrackMania 2: Canyon • Page 2

Up the wall.

The game handles annoying things like the niceties of putting in the corner pieces, meaning you can simply lay down the road and then switch to test mode to try it out with no fiddly bits to spoil your fun, and thereís an advanced constructor for people who want to get much closer to the design.

ManiaScript, meanwhile, is a tool that will allow veteran players to construct their own game types. Thatís where the future is, perhaps, but even the most basic editing options should be enough to keep a lot of people happy: TrackManiaís an instantly gratifying experience when youíre behind the wheel, and itís not too bad when youíre behind the scenes either.

Itís so gratifying, perhaps, because itís all being kept so simple - and itís all being kept so simple because itís now part of a much larger ecology. TrackMania 2ís destined for a life as just one part of ManiaPlanet, an ambitious online network that will see gamers getting out of their cars from time to time to play - and create - RPGs in QuestMania and FPS games in ShootMania. Tools, editors and even file types are similar across every game, by the looks of it, and if Canyonís anything to go by, fans of all three can expect the same clear-headed approach to design basics along with the option to buy new content over time.

You can select different times of day for each track you make Ė the lighting effects are understated but pretty.

With its twisting courses and its endlessly satisfying editor, it looks like TrackMania 2 is getting the balance just right, then. This is a game where the player base is expected to come up with a lot of the fun, certainly, but even those who donít want to turn designer will still be able to try out all the user-generated game types and levels, as well as race against both ghosts and friends in massive online tournaments.

The series has been building towards something like this ever since its first player laid down their first loop-de-loop: building towards a game thatís both focused and expansive, immediately charming and dizzyingly deep.

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