Core gameplay unchanged, Trials Evolution still has a few tricks up its dirt-stained, gnarly sleeves. First up is the multiplayer, which can be played locally or over Xbox Live. This highly anticipated addition adds a whole new dimension to the series, because competing with other players goes above and beyond fighting over the old scoreboard times. Now you can see just how good or bad your opponent is doing during a race, instead of just comparing numbers on a lifeless menu, which makes the competition intense. An accompanying multiplayer ranking system adds some depth. Because games are found relatively quickly, you really can lose yourself for a very long time in this mode as you work your way up to becoming a Trials Evolution racing legend.
Depth also comes from the way you work through the game. There are four licences to unlock, and they must be done as you earn enough medals. Whilst the Trials HD elite might dislike the idea of a tutorial and a more progression-based approach - the feel of the game is virtually identical so there’s no real need to relearn anything - it can be flown through, and newbies will benefit from learning the key principles.
Credits earned from completing each course and license can be spent on new rider gloves, helmets or parts for your bike to change its look. There’s no real reason to unlock and buy extra gear other than for your own aesthetic pangs, but it offers something to work towards and sometimes any excuse to avoid facing that course you’re stuck on is welcome relief.
Trials Evolution also includes a number of mini-games. These involve seeing how far you can go on one tank of fuel, or even trying to roll a ball along a puzzle-type environment. Some seem a little out of place, and perhaps indicate future mobile game releases from RedLynx, but actually end up being almost as addictive as the main game, increasing longevity in the process.
There aren’t many downsides to all of this at all. Unless you really loved the indoor areas of Trials HD or you have a particular aversion to action and fun, there’s nothing really to dislike. Multiplayer proves engaging, the course design is as good as before, if not better, and the new challenge games really mix up the gameplay. Little touches such as the Limbo-themed level serve as the cherry on the top of a game just about anybody can enjoy - and should.
Trials Evolution really didn’t have to evolve and it still would’ve sold fantastically well. But rather than rest on its laurels, RedLynx has injected everything that made the original so enthralling into an even more refined, more palatable game and added just about everything fans of the original had been craving for. If the mad stunts, improved visuals and awesome level design doesn’t hook you, not to mention the short and sweet thrills of the multiplayer, video games are dead to you - that’s a fact. For the £10-odd worth in Microsoft points, it really doesn’t get any better.