TrackMania DS

Game review by
Harold Goldberg, Common Sense Media
TrackMania DS Game Poster Image
Ingenious, compelling race game lets you build racetracks.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

You're building race tracks and sharing them with others. So the game embraces the idea of community.

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that even though the "E" rating suggests the game is fine for young players, the construction of the tracks requires some sophistication that younger players won't have. Kids as young as age 4 can race, but to appreciate the full benefit of what this game has to offer, it is best played by kids 6-up.

 

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What's it about?

Ever since the early days of video games, allowing the gamer to make his or her own game has been a sure road to enjoyment. With TRACKMANIA DS, Atlus provides you endless ways to put the pedal to the metal by permitting anyone to build and share their own arcade racetrack creations.

There are over 100 short, single player races in three environments already programmed into the game. Race by using the D-pad to steer and the 'A' button to accelerate. As you win, you accumulate Copper, the game's cash, to purchase car skins and unique track parts. You can make tracks in two ways. You can use an editor interface to click and drag parts to the touch screen. Or you can simply take your stylus and draw on the touch screen. You can share your tracks wirelessly, and play wirelessly, too.

Is it any good?

Trying to finish first in all of the single player races is a true challenge in itself: unless you're really driving to perfection, you won't be Number 1. And the Extreme difficulty mode is killer hard (in a good way)! After purchasing parts with your income from racing, you can add tunnels, make loop de loops and add tilted portions to your track creations. You can even add blimps and trees to make your environments more life-like.

There are some challenges with the game, however. If your vehicle flies off the track, it doesn't automatically re-emerge where it left off. You have to begin the race all over again. You should be able to choose from a small variety of cars right from the beginning in the single player races; but you can't. Finally, if you accidentally erase the starting gate or finish gate from the track editor, you sometimes can't find the pieces in the toolbar below. And you can't save your track without them. Yet it's just so much fun to make, race on, and share your own tracks that you'll forgive the glitches in TrackMania DS. Instead, you happily work around them.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the tracks they've made. Does a short track or a long track work best? Why? If you were going to make a race track in real life, where would you put it? Why?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS
  • Price: $29.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Atlus
  • Release date: March 17, 2009
  • Genre: Racing
  • ESRB rating: E for (No Descriptors)

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