A Game Review by Andrew
Track Mania 2 Canyons is the 10th installment in one of the few PC racing titles. As with previous games in the series it focuses on precise vehicular handling and death defying stunts, instead of the spectacular crashes and extreme realism that seem to be the norm with other modern racing games.
As has been tradition with Track Mania games in the past reality isn’t the goal, instead it is thoroughly focused on sanity deifying aerobatics and constant personal improvement. Most tracks have at least one large jump or wall running section, and believe me when I say that driving up a wall and jumping several hundred feet while driving at four hundred plus mph is as much fun as it sounds.
Canyons is excellent at reminding you when you have done well, instead of rubbing your nose in the fact that you failed for the twentieth time in a row. It does this in little ways, from showing how many tenths of a second faster you traveled between checkpoints, to asking if you would like to “Improve” your time at the end of a track. This really helps keep the urge to “rage quit” away on some of the games many painfully difficult tracks.
Canyons driving mechanics are designed to be as simple and user friendly as possible. All control is done with the arrow keys and they work extremely well! The cars feel nice and tight when cornering, jumps have an amazing weight and drifting is easy to use and very nicely controlled. It is quite uncommon to fully loose control of your car no matter the driving conditions.
You wont encounter the spectacular crashes seen in many other games of the genre, in fact cars in Canyons can’t crash into one and other. Instead they simply clip through each other, while this may sound odd its important to remember that the Track Mania games have always been about racing players times instead of their cars. However cars will impact all other surfaces with brutal crunches, while this will cause visible damage to your car it won’t impair its performance.
The Track Mania games have been known for the hot wheels style tracks. This style of racing lends its self very well to the “building block” track editor allowing the community to make very complex tracks with relative ease. While community generated content is excellent its not without its down sides. One of which being inconsistency, some tracks are very well designed while others are not very well layed out at all. Unfortunately the tracks are generally mixed together so getting a fun track can be rather hit and miss.
Should you feel the need to visually set your car apart from the competition there is a full paint and decal customization set that allows from importation of Photoshop or Illustrator graphics. Unfortunately the only way to import graphics is to manually move the files into the games decals folder. While doable I would have liked to see the game do some of the leg work for you.
Canyons is no slouch in the graphics department boasting beautiful textures and shining car models with real-time reflections. However with some simple tweaking of the settings the game can be smoothly run on even lower end machines.
The game also comes with a fully functional video editor for use on some the many race replays you will collect. While useful it is unfortunately quite complex and users unfamiliar with video editing programs will likely find it hard to use.
Overall Canyons is another highly enjoyable entry in an excellent and mostly PC exclusive series. Its a worthy sequel that will please old fans of previous games, and at $24.99 its a very affordable entry into the franchise. Its quirky unconventional take on the racing genre can be a bit of an acquired taste but the amount of content and unique style makes it a worthy addition to any racing fans collection.
Andrew Epps is an 18 year old life long homeschooler with a love of reading, writing, and video games.