Probably futile attempt to pitch ShootMania time!

First of all, this “manifesto” trailer sums up what Nadeo and Ubi are trying to do with the whole “ManiaPlanet” platform as a whole.

The basic essence of it all is “accessible e-sports”. E-sports in general are quite tough to get into, with a learning curve to figure out the game itself and then an often newbie-unfriendly community to deal with.

ShootMania, though, like TrackMania before it, is designed to be very easy to get into. In TrackMania, you only needed the direction keys to play; in ShootMania, if you understand the basic WSAD-and-mouse language of FPS navigation, you’re good to go.

Where ShootMania is notable over other, more well-established FPS titles, is in the differing approaches it takes to things. In most game modes you’re limited to a single weapon, so there’s no charging around camping powerups or weapon respawn points, and you score points for hitting rather than killing people, meaning even a complete FPS spaz like myself can at least score a few points and even win.

Then there are the different modes. The basic free-for-all deathmatch is great fun, but then you have super-cool creative stuff like Joust mode, plus the potential for modding.

Joust mode is very cool, and the most “sport”-like mode I think I’ve seen in an FPS. Two players square off against each other at a time in a small arena. Neither may shoot until they’ve made their way to one of the “poles” on the field, at which point their gun charges up enough for five shots. The winner of the match is determined by whoever reached the score limit first, with a tennis-style “advantage/break” system in play to keep things exciting. Once a single round is over, another pair partner up and take each other on while the other players watch through the excellent spectator cam, which does a fine job of keeping all the action in view.

Or how about Royal mode? This is a straight-up free for all deathmatch in which all participants have just a single life. To make things more interesting, whoever triggers the point at the centre of the map causes a deadly force field to start closing in from the outside of the level, meaning the level effectively gets smaller and smaller and smaller until everyone is crammed into a tiny space in the centre.

Interface is clunky as hell at the moment as it’s in beta (plus TrackMania never had the most well-polished interface in the world anyway) but if you’re looking for something a bit different from your shootymen experience, I highly recommend checking it out.

Can’t wait to see what QuestMania offers.