Racing games have been a staple of the games industry since its inception, but very few of these virtual drivathons have managed to truly capture the heady mix of excitement and outright fear that comes with pushing real-life machines to their absolute limit. Modern superbikes can reach incredible speeds, but most other two-wheeled racing simulators (including the likes of the recently released MotoGP 20) never manage to capture that intoxicating dread that comes from courting death with a single mistimed squeeze of the break.
Like its predecessor on Nintendo Switch, TT Isle Of Man - Ride On The Edge 2 has no such worries. Its centrepiece is a faithful recreation of the deadliest road race in motorsport – the Snaefell Mountain course that winds a 37.73-mile trail around the picturesque streets and country roads of the otherwise sleepy Isle of Man – a course that’s claimed over 150 lives since its inception in 1907. In the palm of your hands on Switch, that translates into travelling 200mph down a quaint country road where even kissing the curb or brushing nearby foliage will send you tumbling into oblivion (and out of contention).
What makes TT Isle Of Man - Ride On The Edge 2 stand apart from the first game in the series is how developer Kylotonn Entertainment has striven to make such an elite experience feel far more accessible to casual players. Sure, you can play with a manual transmission, split front and rear brakes and remove any and all assists, but you can also build up to this at a pace that’s suited to your growing confidence. An overhauled physics system lends itself to a handling model that’s both precise and solid, with wobbles that need to be corrected to avoid your bike launching you over the handlebars, or your front wheel lifting when you fail to change to the right gear. Now your superbike feels like a beast that can be tamed (if you’re willing to take the time to learn its ways).
Career mode was one area TT Isle Of Man really went off-piste, with very little content compared to other modern racing outings. Its sequel addresses this immediately, with a racing calendar designed to cater to players of all skill levels. Being able to select from multiple races at the start of a new session – with greater rewards offered as a result of playing on higher difficulties – provides just enough risk to coax you into testing your reactions in a tougher setup. The calendar itself is a little messy in execution, and it takes a little while to discern just how best to navigate through it, but there’s at least a decent flow of content and some level of direction – which is already a step up from the first game.
The Career mode builds you up to the titular Isle of Man race by taking you around various fictitious courses around the UK and Ireland. However, much like the first game, these courses rarely offer anything as exciting or interesting in their design as the main event. A track editor and an active community would have helped address this issue, a feature the later MXGP and Monster Energy Supercross games have introduced to keep players invested in creative tracks. It’s an issue British TT games have had to contend with for years, but if we’re going to rely on made-up races, they need to be a little more inspiring in their challenge.
Free Roam is a new addition to the series, introducing what is essentially Forza Horizon on a smaller budget. The Free Roam map effectively combines all of the fictional races into one larger map, offering a place to test your bike handling, acceleration control and cornering skills without the pressures of an actual race. You can choose from all three bike classes – including Superbike, Supersport and Classic – and even select the type of weather and temperature you’d like to race with, but there’s a frustrating lack of actual content bar a few time trap challenges. The Compound area of Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 3 proves you can have a sandbox feature with challenges and multiplayer built-in, so Free Roam ends up feeling more like a tech demo for what the developer might improve on with future instalments.
The developer has also tried to introduce a few RPG elements to the mix, but rather than making the game feel a little more dynamic they end up muddying the experience. Perks serve as passive boosts during races and broken into four tiers – Engineers, Mechanics, Insurance and Influence – but they’re so poorly implemented you’ll rarely see the wood for the trees. Customisation options are also oddly restricted for your rider, limited mostly to the use of liveries for certain real-life teams that are applied to your machine when you sign a new contract. The overall presentation on is Nintendo Switch is still a little rough – with quite a bit of jagged assets and blurred textures – but these have clearly been made in order to protect performance, which rarely drops in frames, even at the highest of speeds around Snaefell.
While Milestone’s two-wheeled efforts offer a more polished two-wheeled simulation experience, Kylotonn’s latest addition to the genre is still a recommended purchase for hardcore superbike superfans. The overall improvements to the handling model make taking on the legendary Isle of Man TT course a far more rewarding experience than previous attempts, while the improved Career mode makes the build-up to that infamous race far more agreeable to less experienced riders. While it’s still very rough around the edges in terms of presentation, Isle Of Man TT - Ride On The Edge 2 is still a far smoother ride than the original and another decent addition to Switch’s growing motorbike repertoire.