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Trials Evolution Review

What is the concept? Although the Xbox Live Arcade has served up a share of challenging games- from the control-clenching platforming of ‘Splosion Man and Super Meat Boy to the maniac dodge-and-shoot action of Bangai-O HD Missile Fury and Ikaruga, few downloadable titles have offered opposition as overpowering as 2009’s Trials HD. Grounded by an remarkably simple premise, the game tasked players with guiding a motorcycle- jockeying protagonist through a succession of increasingly elaborate and demanding levels. While the first few runs presented an average level of adversity, soon stages demanded a masochistic level of mastery, often requiring players to repeat the same single-wheel balances and bunny-hops hundreds of times.

While the concluding moments of Trials Evolution still reach the same punishing plateaus, average skilled players will likely mine their money’s worth before the game reaches swear-inducing status. Shrewdly, developer RedLynx amended the trajectory of the single-player campaign with both skill-building license tests and a tier system which helps gamers from reaching a game- deserting stopgap.  Yet, thanks to the game’s impeccable control scheme- with players only adjusting rider position as well as acceleration, Trials Evolution persistently conveys the perception that each of the game’s sixty core levels can be conquered, given enough practice and dogged perseverance.

What are the game’s strengths? Whereas Trials HD was set in a sterile, soulless warehouse, the sequel transports its physics-based challenges to an ever-changing list of locales. From desert environments to sprawling locations which unite the urban with the pastoral, the title’s selection of backdrops is as conspicuous as its far-flung draw-distance and fluid framerate. Save for the comical ragdoll wipeouts, Evolution’s predecessor was a fairly straight-laced game. Now, a sly sense of humor permeates each level, whether stages are punctuated with falling objects pelting your hapless rider, or players are showboating across the Czech Hedgehogs in an Omaha-beach inspired stage.

Beyond the game’s career mode, RedLynx also hands over the entire toolset to players, delivering an editor capable of constructing any of the game’s stages. While both the basic and advanced construction sets compel a bit of experimentation before generating virtuous results, the developers allow players to tweak any of the title’s prebuilt levels, offering an implicit tutorial for the dedicated. Pleasingly, Evolution’s stage-sharing abilities have been overhauled, allowing gamers to easily download up-voted tracks and even the developer’s personal picks. Hopefully, an enthusiastic community will keep the title relevant through a steady infusion of imaginative track ideas.

For competitive-minded players, up to four local or online riders can vie for supremacy on Supercross courses which recall the Excitebike’s spirited sprints across jumps and whoops. Cleverly, these events are more than just simple racers, exhibiting a scoring system which also rewards stunts while penalizing each reckless wipeout. Meanwhile, the title’s Motocross contests mirror the tighter perspective single-player game, with other cyclists appear as innocuous ghosts as contestants vie for the finish line.

What are the game’s weaknesses? Trials Evolutions’ online multiplayer events are consistently lag-free and even offer visual indication of the quality of each participant’s net connection. Yet, the title’s matchmaking system can be sluggish, with waits up to a minute before jumping into a Quick Match. Additionally, matches were sporadically cancelled just as an eager quartet of riders was rounded up, forcing players to start the process anew. Hopefully, a patch will allow gamers to spend more time on the courses than in the cues.

Evolution’s currency system feels like a missed opportunity. With each bronze, silver, gold, and platinum medal earned, paying out correlated dividends, players are able to customize the color of their riders’ clothing and safety equipment. However, once a suitable look for your avatar is selected from the game’s selection of common gear, money begins to begin to be stockpiled. Ideally, the title would have offered another incentive, such as special stages or avatar pics which denote serious progress through Trials. Pleasingly, owners of the first game are given a few perks based on how well they performed.

Is it worth the money? Considering the collection of engaging single player stages, multiplayer heats, and ability to download an inexhaustible number of supplemental tracks through the game’s level editor, Trials Evolution’s fifteen dollar price is wholly reasonable. Although Trials HD veterans may still be suffering from shell-shock incurred by a nearly insurmountable difficulty level, this follow-up  demonstrates a gentler side, offer much more content for players cursed with the motor skills of an common mortal.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

23 comments

  1. Thanks to this review, I now what those giant jack looking things from Saving Private Ryan are called. haha.

    Think about picking it up. Glad its a bit more welcoming that the last game.

  2. 360 only? Man, that sucks.

  3. About how far do you get in and then you have to nail every little technique?

  4. my favorite part of the game is when you bail and it looks like your rider is sucking himself off, Ron Jeremy style!

  5. Good review, Deagle. Did you notice that the textures top in late on some tracks, or is it just my 360?

  6. The multiplayer sounds pretty fun but I think the idea of sharing custom tracks is what makes this really cool.

    BTW- I read that the first game was one of the best sellers on XBLA. Congrats, RedLynx.

  7. I bought $20 in MS point with the intent of buying Fez. Just as I was hoovering over the purchase button, I just couldn’t support someone who says such mean things.

    Trials Evo got me money.

    In hindsight I made the right decision. The game is like a whole Hot Wheel track of stuff to challenge you, play with and laugh at. I recommend it.

  8. I have a ton of money in the game as well. I was hoping to get spiked helmets, mo-hawks and other stuff. Even through some of the game is funny, other parts are too serious, like the rider costumes.

  9. Ok, heres my problem with Evolution: they dumbed the game down.

    I love how the original was balls hard but always, always fair. This game you can complete without breaking to much of a sweat. They listened and caved to the whining babies.

  10. Played the demo and it was enough to get me hooked.

  11. Hexic HD was also hard as hell. Maybe the worst of the bunch.

  12. Thanks Des, I liked the first game. Even through it took me about 300 times to finish some of the tracks, it was rewarding.

  13. Just picked up a point card. The original Trials was one of my favorite XBLA games. I played for hours.

  14. Yeah, the matchmaking is kind of broken. Other than that the game is really fun.

  15. A giveaway would be nice for this.

  16. I’ve heard the original was crazy hard. The kind of game that makes you want to break your controller. For me, I’m glad they made it easier in the beginning.

  17. Easier? This game is making me crazy with its last series of events.

  18. Picked this up today and dropped about 2 hours in. The matchmaking barely works for me, too. And word on a patch?

  19. I need to finish three more stages and I’ll be done with this game forever. Don’t know if that’s going to happen.

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