While you may expect a title based on the historic three week, 3,000km Tour de France cycling tournament to be a little like a racing game, this adaptation is actually much more of a strategy experience. Those already familiar with Nacon and Cyanide’s biking excursions will know that, of course, as Tour de France 2022 is largely identical to its predecessor – which was already similar to 2020’s title, and so on.
The gameplay loop, whichever mode you’re playing, largely revolves around energy management. You need to carefully consider breakaways, your position in the peloton, and your overall stamina. Some modes allow you to switch between teammates, ensuring you’re constantly setting yourself up for success. Unfortunately, you’ll spend a lot of time simply fast-forwarding large chunks of road, as there’s no real meaningful advantage to be gleaned from pedalling all 200km of every stage.
It’s a different kind of racing experience, with a large emphasis put on those all-important final kilometre sprints. There is a kind of relaxing appeal to overseeing your team’s quest for the yellow jersey, though, and all of the real-world hopefuls from this year’s event are present and correct – at least in thumbnail form, anyway. Unsurprisingly, this game leaves a lot to be desired visually, and there’s very little variation in character models or bike types, which makes for a graphically unappealing release.
Some new wrinkles extend to the inclusion of collisions, as well as race day issues like illness and form. These do add some depth to the stages and are appreciated additions, although we found we could still ride through some spectators even with crashes turned on. A new online leaderboard option allows you to play along with different events in order to earn virtual accolades, while the Denmark legs of this year’s real-world Tour de France are joined by a new Italian event, the Primavera Classic.
With such little visual variety, though, there’s not much to differentiate the various stages – and, as alluded to previously, you’ll spend the vast majority of your time fast-forwarding to key moments anyway. It’s all an acquired taste, which is perhaps best reflected by the minuscule budget invested into the series overall. Still, cycling enthusiasts may find something to enjoy in the unique, tactical gameplay, which is all about picking your moments and pedalling like there’s no tomorrow.