Game review: Trials evolution
You'd think a game where you ride a bike over bumps and ramps would be about racing, but Trials is more of a puzzle platformer. The game is heavily physics-driven, and small gameplay nuances will determine your success - how much speed you're carrying off a jump, whether your rider is leaning back or forward and what angle the bike is at when it lands. Getting these right, besides negotiating a track flawlessly is more like solving a tricky puzzle than winning a race.
Trials started out as a hard-as-nails browser-based PC game, but has since moved to the Xbox 360. The previous game, Trials HD, broke sales records thanks to a milder difficulty curve. Trials Evolution goes further by easing players in with a variety of difficulty levels in its beefy single-player mode. As you move forward through various licenses, the tracks get progressively more tricky and the bikes that much more powerful. Tracks can vary to include high-speed dashes, jump-heavy roller coasters and technical obstacle courses. Unlike previous games, where tracks were set in the same drab environment, the locations here vary drastically from canyons to forests and even some tracks suspended high in the sky.
Variety also extends to the event objectives. While most events require you to clear a course without crashes within a stipulated time to get the gold medal, later on in the single player mode there are events that flip the script. This includes rigging your bike so it can't brake and always accelerates, or a requirement to go as far as possible on a limited fuel supply. Then there are those that ditch the bike entirely. In one event, you're thrown off your bike with wooden planks strapped to your arms, which you must flap like wings to get as far as you can. There's also one where your bike is strapped to a space ship that you must fly around. Things can get pretty absurd, mixing things up in the name of fun.
As much fun as the game's single-player mode is, Trials Evolution really comes into its own in multiplayer. The game supports multiplayer for up to four players, either split-screen or online. Here too, there are two types of events based on track types. First, there are the tracks taken from the single-player mode, where opponents show up as ghosts. The other more fun events though are on the supercross tracks where each bike is assigned one of four lanes. There is a checkpoint system here, where anytime a player crashes, he respawns as the leader crosses the next checkpoint, ensuring that all races end close.
The content-rich single-player mode and the addictive multiplayer by themselves make Trials Evolution a must-buy, but developer RedLynx didn't stop there. They've thrown in a comprehensive track creator in there that lets players create their own tracks and share them with the world. Already there are thousands of great user created tracks available, making this a virtually never-ending game.
Trials Evolution is a one of the best games you can buy on Xbox Live Arcade. It blurs the boundaries between genres and its impressive presentation and structure makes it more accessible and fun than any previous Trials game. If you're an Xbox 360 owner, this one is an absolute no-brainer.
What we liked: Challenging but addictive gameplay, brimming with content, lots of level variety, unlimited resource of user-generated tracks.
What we didn't: Track design often requires trial and error.
Price: 1,200 Microsoft points on the Xbox 360 (Xbox Live Arcade).
Sameer is the cofounder ofIndianVideoGamer.com