The launch of Trials Evolution earlier this month was met with a great deal of anticipation. The follow-up to one of the most talked about Xbox LIVE Arcade releases ever, brought to market along with Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition as one of the highlights of the channel’s spring line-up, Red Lynx’s latest has received a staggering amount of attention in the run-up to launch. Now that it’s finally here, you’d be hard pressed to say that it wasn’t worth it.
The core gameplay from the original Trials HD remains untouched. Players mount their steel stallion and take to dirt tracks, industrial areas, mountain ranges and much more besides. Each and every track in the campaign has been arranged purely to challenge balance on a 2D plane, with the idea of the videogame being to keep atop of the ramps and puddles, and making it across the finishing line in one piece. Each track has three medals available: bronze for completion, silver for beating the target time and gold for finishing on time, without suffering a dismount.
The first rule to learn is that the power comes from the back wheel. Landing the rear appropriately can make-or-break your progression, with skilled players able to realign their front-end after almost any successful impact. Trials Evolution throws lots of different challenges at you based on this premise, from simple jumps with awkward landings to repetitions, backflips, near-vertical inclines and much more. Once all of this has been acknowledged by the player through the welcoming opening stages, Trials Evolution mixes it all up in levels of extended length and increasing difficulty.
In addition to the tracks included for the single-player campaign, Trials Evolution offers hundreds of additional tracks as one-off skill challenges, multiplayer events and customisable sample tracks for the event editor. And that’s before we even begin to brush on the community aspect of creation and sharing of tracks. To suggest that Trials Evolution is light on content would be nothing more than a downright lie, and even if you did manage to reach the uppermost limit on the pre-packaged selection, you can always add your own.
The track editor in Trials Evolution comes in two forms, the standard edition and the ‘pro editor’. The track editor allows for an impressive amount of customisation, from simply laying a track over pre-constructed terrain to effectively starting from scratch. The possibilities available in the pro editor are actually quite astounding, as can be seen from some of the community created pieces that push Trials Evolution behind its balancing act racing and into brand new territory. And given the fact that downloading user created tracks is easy and quick – allowing you to begin playing in seconds – the temptation to try something new is ever-present.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with Trials Evolution’s visual design, it’s hardly anything to write home about. Every different item is instantly recognisable as a real world object, and the animation of each rider is certainly of a good standard. The up tempo soundtrack is perfectly suited to the videogame, and the effects in place for both bike and rider are very well presented, as is the online tech, which allows players to customise their rivalries or play against random challengers without any unsightly connection issues.
Trials Evolution is essentially a bigger, bolder version of the same videogame. It adds new elements to the package’s construction as opposed to the gameplay directly, but in that it provides brand new opportunities for innovative, engrossing gameplay from both developer and community. Trials Evolution is a marked step forward for the Trials series, but it’s doubtful that Red Lynx will be able to get a third title out on Xbox LIVE Arcade without a little renovation of the core gameplay.