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Review

Trials Evolution Review (XBLA)

Revolution.

Trials Evolution is the sort of game that grips you. It doesn’t just exist on a television screen, passing a few hours here and there. It takes over your daydreams and invades your thought processes in your everyday life. It’s compelling, addictive and engrossing. It’s also purposefully frustrating.


Some jumps look impossible but it's all about the bunny hop.
The premise is simple – and identical to the previous Trials game in most respects. You guide a trials motorcycle over jumps and obstacles, up hill and down, along scaffolding and girders, through pipes and over shipping containers. Your right trigger controls your throttle and your left trigger administers the brake. The left stick controls the weight distribution of your rider. Lean forward to put weight over the front wheel and keep both tyres on the ground up sharp inclines, lean back to lift the front wheel and get over barrels, crates and walls that sit perpendicular to the ground.

It’s important to recognise just how intricate the degree of control is in Trials Evolution. Many games get by on their immersive worlds, gripping narrative or spectacular visuals. Trials exists on its shades of control. Learning to perfectly time your rider’s leaning will shave seconds off your times, enable you to span gaps which seemed impossible and generally make the environment much more navigable.

Each track is timed and your faults – after which you can reset to one of the numerous checkpoints on each track – are counted. You’re awarded medals of bronze, silver or gold depending on how well you compete. Bronze medals simply require that you finish the track, which in itself can be difficult enough. Silver  and gold medals require a limited number of faults and a certain time constraint. The real driving force, though, is your friends list and leader boards.

Completing early sets of tracks will unlock more difficult sets. As you might expect, this gets progressively more difficult as you work through them but it never feels impossible. The finesse of control required grows with your ability and experience of the game and although there are a couple of difficulty spikes, it’s nothing that is insurmountable and success is sufficiently rewarding that you’ll likely feel the rush of relief after the frustrations of learning the necessary tricks.

Playing through the unlockable Tournaments sees you face several tracks with a goal of beating an overall time and number of faults across all tracks in the tournament. So you could be perfect through three tracks and have a fault on the last obstacle of your fourth and final track, turning your hard fought gold medal into a silver.

In addition to a fairly large selection of Trials tracks and collected Tournaments to work through on your own, there are multiplayer modes based around racing up to three other players over multiple heats and tracks to score points or challenging ghosts on traditional Trials tracks of varying difficulty.


It's odd, given the focussed mechanics, but environments can be quite varied.
Finally, in terms of gameplay, there are the Skill Games. These are often nothing to do with your motorcycle at all, instead showing off the physics and diversity of the game engine. You might have to perform as many flips as possible, eject yoursef from the bike and see how far you can “fly” with planks for wings or see how far you can travel without shifting your rider’s position.

Those are the more normal events. Some of the more peculiar events see you piloting a UFO, swinging your rider from trapezes and playing through a Trials tribute to ‘Splosion Man in which you emulate the combustible platformer by tapping the A button to ‘splode and navigate a dangerous environment.

Trials also has a gargantuan level editor which is already throwing up some incredibly imaginative user generated content. Basically, you can, with a little practice and expertise, build anything that’s in the game. People have already made huge jumps, long mountainous traversals and recreations of AMA motorcross tracks, as well as some more peculiar experiments like the example from the developers – an homage to Angry Birds.

Pros:

  • Exceptionally good level design.
  • Gameplay unlike anything else.
  • Plenty of content and a fantastic level editor.

Cons:

  • It will test your patience, severely.


Trials Evolution is not only one of the best downloadable games of the year so far, it’s one of the best games on any platform so far this year. One or two level design choices feel a little bit cheap — there’s a sewage plant one that often faults you through no fault of your own — but on the whole, it’s a masterclass in perfectly tuned level design. The utterly compelling leader board battles you’ll engage in with likeminded friends are what make this game so addictive but there’s plenty of single player content and traditional multiplayer racing too.

Score: 9/10

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7 Comments
  1. nofi
    One for all.
    Since: Forever

    Amazing game.

    Comment posted on 25/04/2012 at 09:26.
  2. hazelam
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    it’s the user levels that really interest me, if it’s anything like the first game the built in levels will reach a difficulty beyond my skill, and patience, to finish, but now they’ve sorted out a centralised user level distribution system i may never run out of levels.

    and if the level creator is as versatile as it look, who knows what people may come up with.

    it’s just a shame it’s only on the xbox, i’d quite like to try the multiplayer.

    Comment posted on 25/04/2012 at 09:33.
  3. MrSpeedyGonzales
    Member
    Since: Jun 2010

    Absolutely fantastic game, better than most retail games and it’s only 1200MS points. The user created levels have started to blow mind a little. I saw one yesterday that was just like Portal 2 (but on a bike of course), unbelievable what people can do.

    Comment posted on 25/04/2012 at 12:53.
  4. seedaripper1973
    Member
    Since: Forever

    Is there ever a chance of it coming to PS3? I’ve played it on a mates xbox and loved it, as well as similar games on android… Takes me back to kickstart *wipes tear*

    Comment posted on 25/04/2012 at 13:30.
    • jikomanzoku
      Member
      Since: Jan 2010

      awwww, kickstart, I saw the title sequence in my head when I read that mate :D bow, bow, bow, bow wah wow wah wow, wow wawow waaaah. (For those old enough :D)

      Many a happy childhood afternoon was spent watching people fall off stuff and crush their nuts on posts and bike frames – happy days.

      Comment posted on 25/04/2012 at 13:52.
  5. Severn2j
    Member
    Since: Aug 2008

    Really loving this game, I hadn’t switched on my 360 in a verry loong time until this came out. Cannot recommend it enough.

    Comment posted on 26/04/2012 at 13:04.

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