Publisher:Redlynx UK Price (inc VAT): 1200 Microsoft points (£10.20)
The greatest examples of entertainment weather the storm of aging without effort, and one such example isTrials HD. It’s an Xbox Live Arcade title which made the ride to the dizzy heights of popularity, and it’s hung on at the top ever since.
Now Trials HD has competition, but fortunately for developer RedLynx, it comes in the form of one of its own. Yep, repair that controller and hit yourself up with a massive dose of patience, Trials is back and it’s more insane than ever, in Trials Evolution.
As ever, the aim is to get the rider and his bike over obstacles of increasing difficulty using acceleration, braking and rider balance in differing measures. As with the real trials in motorsport, falling off penalises you with a point. Keep messing up and you’ll soon see plenty of points and a very slow finish time, not to mention a lack of medals. Once you improve, though, and you’ll begin to fly through levels in smooth fashion, with the silverware will soon pile up.
Whereas Trials HD was based entirely indoors, as if the rider were allergic to sunlight and fresh air, Trials Evolution spends most of its time outside. Perhaps the allure of freedom proved too much? It’s straightforward, as well - quite literally in fact. Courses go from left to right as before, but through left and right bends, giving the game a more cinematic, and more realistic feel. Combined with even bigger death-defying stunt action - think jumping over huge drops with a helicopter below - RedLynx has somehow managed to make Trials Evolution feel even more explosive without it becoming predictable and the novelty lost.
In fact, the best news of all is the gameplay remains unchanged. Very steep inclines require gentle taps to lean the rider forward combined with bursts of the throttle. Meanwhile, gold medals still require no mistakes and an understanding that flat-out speed isn’t always the key to success. Very early on you soon realise a smooth line and carrying speed is key, and that is how it should be. The only real difference is RedLynx has added more comical end sequences, and the outside locations have allowed for more interesting scenarios. Some levels see you using bursts of water from giant pipes to clear obstacles, another involves a Trials version of the mighty Xbox Live Arcade game, Limbo.
As ever, the toughest challenges will have the very best video gamers questioning their own skill. This is a game that will have you swearing at the screen as you fall off for the 30th time, but you’ll still get back up to try again because the constant allure of another gold medal always proves too hard to resist. Trials has always been about the satisfaction from mastery - and the sequel has that feeling in spades. Frustrating it might become later on, but that’s part of the charm. It’s bit of a ‘treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen’ mentality but it works.