The Trials series of games has taken simple gameplay to new heights with each version. Beginning on PC as Trials, the series moved to the Xbox 360 in 2009 with the release of Trials HD, which has set the Xbox LIVE Arcade charts on fire for over two and a half years. With Trials Evolution, Redlynx takes the simple gameplay and makes it better through giving the player more things to do and accomplish.
Trials Evolution puts players in the shoes of a rally biker as they go through a series of levels in the fastest time possible. While the objective sounds simple, it is actually very difficult, because of the game's physics system, which is very touchy, with crashes that often makes the biker ragdoll like crazy. Gameplay is 2D, and the player is only allowed to make their character bike accelerate or brake, as well as make the character lean forward or backwards, making the character rotate and flip in the air. Also included are quick shortcuts to restart a course from a checkpoint or the beginning.
Trials Evolution's gameplay is the perfect combination of frustrating and enjoyable. The game allows progress just based on completing a course, but the real fun comes from getting through as quickly as possible without crashing. The easy shortcuts for restarting and the checkpoints littered throughout levels makes messing up something easy to deal with. The game has a feel similar to the early Tony Hawk's Pro Skater titles, where everything was simply about score and trying to get a perfect two-minute run through of a level.
In addition to the addictive single-player gameplay, Trials Evolution integrates multiplayer seamlessly into the experience. If people on your friends' list have posted a score to the leaderboard for the level, a ghost of their best run through of the course is visible throughout the level. Granted it’s just a dot with the friend's name above it, but it gives you an idea of where others mess up at and gives more motivation to help the player press on. There is also a real-time racing mode for up to 4 players that functions similarly to Excitebike.
Trials Evolution also offers a track creation mode which is pretty extensive and has a feel similar to LittleBigPlanet. The track creator allows levels to be played from different perspectives such as first person, and they generally change the gameplay around in many ways. There are two editors available: Lite and Pro, which allow anyone to get their feet wet. In addition, levels can be uploaded and shared amongst friends and the public, which exponentially increases the replay value of the game. The only gripe I have with this mode is that uploaded levels can be restricted by bikes unlocked, which meant that I had to get far in the game before I could play the Dance Central-inspired level someone uploaded.
The graphics in Trials Evolution look great, taking the series from the dilapidated factories of the previous titles to a few new locations. Some environments start in places such as forests and finish in cities, making every level feel unique and not just blur like they did in the last game. One level even takes on the aesthetic of fellow popular XBLA title, Limbo, and it turns everything into silhouettes on a white background. The very nature of Trials makes the game perfect for putting your own music in the background or even listening to a podcast, but the music included is worth hearing at least once, consisting of a few rap songs that sound like a parody of Eminem.
Trials Evolution literally lives up to its name. The game is an evolution of the concepts presented in the original game in 2009, with the same basic gameplay but more to do. Thanks to its multiplayer, level creation, and the slightly easier single-player gameplay, this game replaces its predecessor in every way, and it's amongst the elite of the titles available on Xbox LIVE Arcade.
GameDynamo's Score for Trials Evolution (X360)
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