We don’t tend to bother with motorcycle racing games here on TG for two very good reasons. Firstly, bike games have all been a bit rubbish recently and we don’t like to waste your precious time. Secondly, motorcycles have two too few wheels, so we are deeply suspicious of them. Alright, just the one good reason then.
TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge is impossible to ignore, though. That’s because it recreates the legendary Snaefell Mountain Course in all its sinuous, 37 mile glory and in exceptional detail. Make no mistake, this single circuit, which takes just under 20 minutes to lap on a racing bike, is absolutely the reason to buy this game.
After years of scything around glass-smooth circuits in MotoGP games, it’s the undulations that are the biggest surprise. The bikes feel positively alive as they skip across the road surface and you’ll have to concentrate on managing your suspension loads as you launch over a crest, lest you and your bike decide on different trajectories. This is a game where your motorcycle will regularly take to the air at triple-digit speeds and it’s your job to make sure the place it’s going to land is back on the tarmac and not in somebody’s front garden.
The sensation of speed is just astonishing too, further confirming that TT riders really are a whole other breed of lunatic. If you’re looking for comparisons to four-wheeled racing games, negotiating Snaefell is more like a rally game than a circuit racer, with the scenery whipping past mere inches from your elbows and more corners than you’re ever likely to remember.
There are of course other, shorter circuits in the game, to flesh out the immediately repetitive career mode, but they are all fictional concoctions and noticeably less lavish than the game’s Manx centerpiece. Licensing issues kept other road races, such as the North West 200, off the track list but unfortunately lapping ‘Triangle Raceway’ in Northern Ireland doesn’t quite have the same appeal.
Regardless, attempting to whittle down your laptimes around Snaefell is intoxicating and exhilarating and the Tourist Trophy essentially offers an entire racing game’s worth of mileage all in one place. More than just a good game, this inch perfect reproduction of motorsport’s most fearsome course feels like a genuine achievement, like mapping the human genome or something equally worthy.
As if that wasn’t enough reason to get involved, a free downloadable update arriving in May will add the even more bonkers sidecar racers to the game, offering you the unique experience of grazing another person’s bottom against a Spar supermarket at 100mph.
TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge sacrifices almost everything else in pursuit of a singular goal, recreating the TT, but that clarity of vision makes it the most exciting and rewarding bike racer in the better part of a decade. Well worth your attention, then, even if you do have an inherent distrust of any vehicle that can’t stand up by itself…