So I've returned to an old habit. That of spending spare minutes logging into the hypersensitive Trackmania United Forever. Right now I'm in fact debating whether or not to abandon this post just to grab a few more moments racing around a ridiculously large arena and its fascinating and varied tracks. Trackmania United Forever is the pseudo-sequel to Trackmania Nations, and it would seem to be almost identical in many respects.
The game is a free download available on Steam (maybe elsewhere) and tasks you with racing around ridiculously clean tracks, trying to beat a series of racing-times. The posted times are the classic Bronze, Silver, and Gold, but there is also a fourth medal which is unstated but won when you beat the fastest developer time. Only on a couple occasions have I won that medal, and only in the previous game. The fact is that the two games seem the same sans the different interface and the new tracks and track types. The game looks the same and plays the same, with simple arrow key controls and a convenient restart button. It requires careful handling as you progress through the game and much patience to master each track.
The game excels in its simplicity. I really don't have any complaints because there is so little to the actual design. You are given a track, a car, and a time to beat. The car handles beautifully, responding to the different kinds of tracks with great give, and there's much fun to be had in sliding around certain corners. The one gripe I have actually comes outside of the game itself. The game tracks your medals against all the Trackmania players in the world, your country, and your state. But for some reason when playing via Steam, the account only loads locally, so logging on to the server, I can't unlock my medals won on a different computer. Just a little frustrating.
Either way, I highly recommend the game. Especially for the price of nothing. I'll be the Randallion Stallion, crawling my way up the leaderboards.