I must admit that the original Trials HD game passed me by, however I do remember a simple flash game on the PC which did a similar thing. It’s a simple concept – race your dirt bike from one end of the track to the other and try to cope with the crazy physics involved as your biker tips forwards and backwards and your suspension bends under the impact of a forceful landing.
RedLynx’s game has actually set the record for the fastest downloaded XBLA title and it’s easy to see why – it’s incredibly addictive. Every landing and take-off is effected by the smallest amount of tilt or acceleration and if you muck up you can instantly reset back to the start of the race or the last checkpoint. Race alone and you may just restart at the checkpoint, however if you’re online you can see the data of all your friends and as they zoom off into the distance when you crash you’ll feel compelled to hit the back button to start things afresh.
The game’s got a great sense of humour too. You can hit the Y button to bail where your rider ragdolls into the air and when you finish a race you die in one of many amusing ways. It’s a joy just to get to the end to see what will happen next. As well as straight races there are also licenses to earn as you navigate round complicated scenery and extra challenges using the physics engine where you end up on skis, flying through the air with planks on your arms or tilting a ball around a level Marble Madness style. You can even have a go at making your own tracks and download ones other people have made, making the fun truly endless.
Multiplayer is either local or online where up to four players can compete at once. It’s great fun if you get a group together in the same place but the checkpoint system can be slightly unfair as opponents who have crashed sometimes get restarted at an advantageous position where they can race to the finish before you.
I’ll also confess that I’m not very good at Trials Evolution. Sure practice makes perfect but most of my friends seem to be ahead of me in most races even though I’ve unlocked a faster bike and later on the levels can get frustratingly difficult. Still, there’s plenty more to do if you can’t actually complete the later levels and it’s still a great buy. Did I also mention that the backgrounds are sometimes beautiful to look as well? Trials Evolution gets 9 out of 10.