TT Isle of Man 2 Ride on the Edge Nintendo Switch Review

The Isle of Man TT is the most dangerous motorsport race in the world for a reason. The 37.73 mile course consisting of 219 turns has tragically taken the lives of over 250 riders. Through TT – Isle of Man 2: Ride on the Edge you get to ride the thrilling Snaefell Mountain Course. Developed by KT Racing (Kylotonn) and published by Bigben who brought the stunningly fantastic WRC 8 to Nintendo Switch, this is a game truly like no other; a thrill ride as close to a rollercoaster as you can get in gaming without VR.

Even with long courses there’ll be close action.

My initial thoughts were that TT Isle of Man straddles the strange line between arcade and sim much like the early Gran Turismo games but with bikes and brutally unforgiving, later I realised there’s a reason for this. I found it strange that there are Superbikes (mega powered monsters), Supersport (less powerful) and classic bikes but no Superstock (the standard road superbikes you can buy with all the extra mods) which are their own class in the TT. That’s because all the bikes start out stock and you buy upgrades through career mode, allowing set ups, better brakes, acceleration, power, downforce etc. A real life pro rider is going to find a stock Supersport bike pretty damn easy to ride hence the arcadey feeling when you first start. Once the upgrades roll in you’ll be feathering the front brake (varying your braking pressure) to stop locking up and hitting the deck, be thankful for a separate rear brake and analogue stick acceleration as you’ll suddenly find your bike has become a bucking bronco.

You slowly upgrade your bike in career mode.

In this sequel the bikes handle far more realistically as the physics have been rebuilt from the ground up, you’ll have literally hundreds of huge wobbles where you almost lose the bike, the HD rumble warning you perfectly of your impending doom. You also have to manage tyre temperature and wear, as well brake and engine temperatures.

This isn’t going to end well.

TT Isle of Man 2 is more similar to a rally game with bikes than a circuit racing game with undulating tight twisty road courses continuously snaking their way round, feeling just like an asphalt rally stage. You have to race within your own limits, you don’t often feel you’re pushing the maximum out of the bike, more you go the speed at which you think you’re hopefully not going to crash. Half the time you’ll be competing in time trials with staggered starts with up to 10 bikes on track along with your more traditional mass start races. Also unlike your circuit racers there’s no practice or qualifying giving you an opportunity to learn the track, you just jump straight in and race.

You’ll be acquainted with many walls.

There is a steep learning curve and TT Isle of Man 2 is brutally unforgiving in every way, it really is a game that could benefit from rewinds as crashes ruining races from going over a bump too quickly are commonplace and can be frustrating. Once you get into the mind set you’re not going to do great to start with you can enjoy the thrill of barrelling down tiny roads at insane speeds of 200mph. This is one of the scariest games I’ve ever played as you’ll have oodles of crashes that would be an instant death in real life. 

You buy some upgrades, others you unlock through your team objectives and challenges in the free roam area.

Luckily to help with the insane difficulty there are plenty of assists with ABS (anti lock brakes), traction control, wheelie control and stoppie control; all having 3 settings of help to tailor the game to your preferences. On top of this you can select separate front and rear brakes, have a racing line and customisable controls complete with dead zones and saturation.

The challenges are short and sweet breaking up the gameplay nicely.

Of the game modes unless you love time trials and want to master the Snaefell course you’ll spend most of your time in Career mode which sees you join a team and pick various events to race through during the year before the Isle of Man TT (if you’ve qualified). It is lengthy with loads to keep you occupied as you upgrade your bike, compete in an 8 race season of Irish tracks made out of a large free roam area, the outer ring being 14miles long, complete challenges in the free roam area to earn parts and shop upgrades. There’s also the 9 English tracks from the first game and of course events at legendary Snaefell course. You can’t even enter the actual TT until the second year at the earliest and even then qualifying for the Supersport TT isn’t easy. It was 5 hours into career mode before I even considered selecting my first race at the legendary Snaefell Mountain Isle of Man course and over 10 hours in before I finally did the Supersport TT, let alone do well in it. Then there’s the Superbike category for the Irish championship and TT and the classic TT. You can leave a race a half way through and resume it another day which is fortunate considering the main event of the TT is over 200 miles long and will take over an hour. In order to stop the player restarting races millions of times till they do well, restarting races costs a percentage of your reward money. This helps you accept how you do in a race and take what you can get. 

You can plan out what events you’ll take part in each year as well as difficulty being colour coded.

Apart from career mode there’s quick race, time trials, online multiplayer for up to 8 players that I haven’t been able to test due to a lack of players pre launch. You have online leaderboards that update whenever you break a lap record at any track in any mode. The only local multiplayer unfortunately is hot seat time trials and finally there’s a short tutorial on how to play and you’re told how career mode works but there’s little guidance on set up, technical terms or how to go about learning the tracks and bikes.

The forest sections can have some frame drops that are worse when playing docked.

I found that after just over 10 hours the physics really clicked with me, I knew this because I could get gold and silver on the challenges without too much effort plus I came third in one of the hard difficulty races in career mode after a little practice in quick race. What I really learnt that helped is how to keep the tyre temperature down and that’s done by breaking early and smoothly then not fully opening the throttle when accelerating out of corners combined with short shifting, this makes sure you don’t lock the brakes or spin up the rear wheel. Though your tyres will overheat until you upgrade the wheels to dissipate some heat. As far as setups go middle of the road is the best option here because if you soften the suspension then you can be quicker over the bumps but slower through the corners if you stiffen the suspension you have to be very careful on the bumps but you can take the corners a little bit quicker if you turn the engine braking up or the front brake pressure up then you’re quite likely to lock up and end up in a wall. What is a worthwhile change is your gear in bringing the final ratio towards acceleration first gear towards acceleration for a good start and then 6th gear for higher top speed for the long straights.

The benefits of cool tyres; doing well on “hard” races.

It’s a shame Bigben didn’t license more bikes and riders as there’s only a handful of bikes and riders per category, there are a very few new 2019 models added to this game including Hickman’s TT winning BMW. There are quite long loading times but a lot of the races are 10 minutes plus and the tracks are much often much bigger than your typical circuit racer. The thing that disappointed me most about the racing was that you can do the most minute little jumps without falling off your bike, far smaller than superbike riders do in British Superbikes in real life.

The challenges are scattered around the Irish free roam area, also 8 circuits are made from this area.

TT Isle of Man 2 isn’t the prettiest game on Nintendo Switch but I love that you get squashed bugs on your windscreen. Particularly in the 1st person views you don’t have time to care that there’s better looking games out there, very few have such a sense of speed and can fill you with as much terror. The 3rd person views are extremely strange in the way the camera moves around whether you set it to dynamic or not. You’ll mostly be racing through countryside with tight surroundings, you’ll sometimes pass through villages or sections surrounded by trees varying the environment. There are a few frames drops when there’s a lot of bikes on screen during a environmentally busy section of track and during the forest sections but nothing game breaking.

The AI are quite rigid in their lines and will take you out if you get in the way.

The sound effects are excellent to the point of being terrifying, such as the scariest sound known to man; the sound of your tyres rubbing up against a pavement curb that almost always signals eating some tarmac. All the bikes sound unique and like the beasts they are when in any of the 1st person style views and when you’re about to start you hear the announcements typical of being in the paddock at a race meeting which really adds to the immersion.

Celebration wheelie!

Accept you’re not going to win very much at all to start with and that the walls of the Isle of Man are going to make you their bitch many times over then you’ll find yourself having an absolute blast flying down tight twisty roads at breakneck speeds without the risk of actually breaking your neck in one of the most thrilling games I’ve ever played: TT Isle of Man 2 Ride on the Edge.

A huge thank you to Bigben for providing the review code. TT Isle of Man 2: Ride on the Edge is available 14th May both physically and digitally on the Nintendo eShop for £53.99/$59.99.

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