So you decided to pick up an 11-year old videogame again, and am struggling with getting past the intermediate levels in the numerous career modes. What should you do then?
#1 — Keep your speed high at all costs
TrackMania United is not your conventional everyday racing game, so you’re not expected to brake before every corner, except on Coast. Most stages, especially on Island, may not even require any braking whatsoever.
#2 — Don’t slide too much
On several environments, such as Bay, Desert and to some degree Rally, you’ll lose a lot of speed if you end up drifting in a corner. Instead, when you’re taking corners, you should do light taps on the brake button to avoid reaching such a speed that you’ll begin to slide.
On Stadium, sliding also means that your car will understeer and will struggle to take the corner without hitting the wall.
#3 — Keep your car stable in the air
On Stadium, Bay, and Island, but not on the Original environments, you can under most circumstances make your car completely cease to spin around in the air by quick-tapping the brake button once when you’re flying.
This is an extremely convenient way to time the perfect landing after a jump, if you tap the brake at the right time.
#4 Make your jumps as short as possible
Something that many players don’t tend to be aware of, is that on Race tracks, it can shave several seconds off your time if you make your quarter-pipe jumps as short as possible.
But on Platform tracks it’s to the contrary, since high jumps may be the only way to get the necessary speed to progress to the next checkpoint
#5 Don’t feel like a superhero
Even the best of players are unlikely to get a clean playthrough of a new track on their first try. If at all possible, try to complete the track a few times, even if you bump into the walls or spin out. You should also feel free to practice on particularly tough sections by going back to the last checkpoint to retry a section a few times, as well.
Once you’ve got a proper understanding of the track, you can begin to set serious times on it, which is something that can only be done once you’ve learned how to get through the entire track in one go without colliding.
#6 Get speed from downhills
On many tracks, but far from all of them, there’s a bunch of jumps or downhill roads that, if you take them at full speed, you’ll on a flat surface and lose most of your speed.
In some instances, you can instead brake a little bit before the jump, so that you’ll land near the end of a downhill straight, on which you’ll build up a lot of speed.
This also applies to roads that immediately go downhill from the Start block. You want to brake so that you don’t lift off the road, but instead remain on the ground to build up speed.
It’ll require a bit of practice and personal judgment to determine which jumps you should take flat-out, and which ones you should be aiming for a slope landing instead.
(More parts to come, as I study my friends play and see if they’re struggling with anything in the game.)