By Ian Ording | firstname.lastname@example.org | @IanOrding
If any or all of those scenarios capture your attention, the new Xbox Live Arcade release Trial Evolution should absolutely be on your radar. This downloadable title from RedLynx puts players in the seat of a bike with the simple goal of making it to the finish of each track. However, that simplicity can overshadow the difficulty of the levels in the latter half of the game. It is a game that has an easy door in and is as rewarding as a game can get for those who stick with it.
Trials has a control set that is as easy to grasp as it is difficult to master; the right trigger button accelerates and pushing left and right makes the rider lean back and forth. The game is set up on a two-dimensional plane, so the only directions you can go are forward and backward. These few actions must be used in increasingly difficult manners in order to come out on top of the tracks at the end of the game. That said, the game offers an almost incomparable level of relief when you finish a particularly grueling course.
Where Trials Evolution shines is in the replayability department. The courses vary greatly in both style and architecture, and each has requirements for bronze, silver and gold medals. Once you reach the levels labeled “Hard,” you will be hard-pressed to make it in the zero crashes required for the gold medals. And then, once you have unlocked the 135 medals required to win the game, the ability to win platinum medals is unlocked and you gain access to a set of “Extreme” levels that will have you pulling hair.
But don’t let the thought of constant crashing discourage you. The game employs a very forgiving checkpoint system that has little to no loading time. After almost every other jump is a checkpoint where your biker will return should you record a fault. This mechanic encourages you to keep trying to complete the levels, and after the repetition, familiarity in course setup will lend to cleaner runs. Trials is a game that will wave the players’ improvement in front of their faces.
When you feel like you’ve had enough of besting yourself, Trials Evolution allows you to take your skills online. The multiplayer of Trials allows for up to four-person races on tracks set up for the contests. It is a good diversion from hitting your head against the wall during your platinum medal runs.
Trials also provides tools for track creation. These user-made courses can be uploaded and downloaded to and from Xbox Live, making RedLynx’s dirt bike tour de force a communal project.
If you need further distraction from the excellent core gameplay, there is a set of minigames based on the biking gameplay. They include riding a course without the ability to tilt, wearing wings and making extra-long jumps and landing a flying saucer on landing pads. While these are mildly enjoyable, they will not merit your attention for very long. They offer an easy way to get a few medals if you are running short, though.
The only unfortunate misstep is in the soundtrack. The game opens with a grating rap-rock travesty and similar tunes play throughout your playtime. You may want to upload some songs onto your console to play, or mute the game and have Netflix or music on a nearby laptop as I did. It is an easily remedied issue, though one that stands out in an otherwise superb showing.
Trials Evolution is an excellent game that will suck away hours upon hours from your day. It epitomizes the “one-more-try” mentality with its medal rewards and outrageous difficulty. If you’re looking for an excellent game to thoroughly distract you, you need not look further. Trials Evolution is one of the best arcade games of this year. And at only $15, it provides a ton of fun for your money.