TrackMania² Stadium – PC
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Nadeo
Release Date: Jun 20, 2013
Genre: Racing
Reviewed by Mark Smith

Review Score: 4.5 of 5

TrackMania is one of my most beloved racing franchises, not so much that it can or even attempts to compete with the major players like Forza and Need for Speed, but because it caters to a very specific type of racer – the kind of person who wants to build tracks as much (if not more) than race on them.
I grew up in a house with a full-basement that was pretty much my own playground for a dozen years and I was a huge fan of slot racers. I would collect multiple kits and assemble some gigantically complex tracks that would span more than 100 square-feet. I would even map my creations out on graph paper and save them in a binder so I could recreate them at a later date.

TrackMania has always offered up one of the best track editors in the genre and TrackMania² is no exception. First up was TrackMania²: Canyon with its coyote vs. roadrunner style setting, and now we get TrackMania²: Stadium that takes the racing and stunt action into an arena style environment where paved and dirt tracks offer up some of the most intense racing and seriously competitive gameplay you can experience on the PC.

If you loved the stadium settings in TrackMania Nations Forever then you’re going to love the new 3D object creation and scripting tools available to assemble the tracks of your dreams. TrackMania has a huge focus on community, not only with is vast network of creative designers and shared tracks, but also in a seriously competitive online experience that tracks your rankings on global, national, and even state-wide leaderboards – nothing better than competing with other Hoosiers for that top spot on the Indiana leaderboard. Serious racers can check out the eSports elements of TrackMania² with new Team and Competition management tools, and there is even embedded support to livestream your races.

But even if you don’t have the itch to create your own tracks there are more than 65 courses already included in the vast solo campaign that you can work your way through while earning various medals for top performance. And nothing compares to the sheer addictiveness of this game. Many races last less than a minute, and with instantaneous restarts at the tap of a button you’ll find yourself running the same 30-second sprint over and over again for 20 minutes trying to earn the gold medal that is just a fraction of a second from your grasp. The very nature of the menu system, medals, and fast-paced game design is totally suited for mobile gaming, but works equally well on the PC when you just want some casual racing action.

But track design is only a fraction of what budding creators can do when the join ManiaPlanet. There are tools to create your own videos, re-skin cars, or even create your own custom game modes. TrackMania²: Stadium offers up the ultimate racing sandbox and the possibilities and fun you can have are only limited by your time and imagination. The game offers up limited support for a gamepad, which is great for actual racing but you’ll definitely want to use a mouse and keyboard for the track editor.

For only $10 you can’t beat the level of excitement and the quality of the racing, both visually, and the way the cars drive, handle, and the sheer exhilaration you’ll experience when you finally shave off that fraction of a second to earn the gold medal. Steam is even offering up 3 and 5-pack bundles so you can bring your friends along for the ride and save some cash. If you loved Canyon then you are going to go crazy for Stadium and with Valley on the way there is no end in sight for the TrackMania franchise.