Trials Evolution Review (XBLA)

Posted by Jim Cook, Apr 19, 2012 11:24

Trials HD was pretty well received despite some of its later tracks being extremely difficult, so Trials Evolution has a strong starting point. It takes the original’s mix of precision racing and hilariously painful crashes, then improves on that. While Evolution does add one annoying flaw (more on that later), it otherwise does a brilliant job of giving players both more of what they wanted and providing it at higher quality. The result is one of the best games in the Xbox Live Arcade catalog, one that was well worth the wait.

Trials Evolution (Xbox 360)In theory, Trials Evolution is easy to play. You use the triggers to manage your motorcycle’s throttle, the left analog stick to balance the rider’s weight, and are taught new tricks after every several stages you clear. It’s simple to learn, but the challenge lies in subtly using analog controls. Landing with the bike at the wrong angle will just cause a crash, and applying full throttle is not always a good idea either. Sometimes you need half throttle, or a tiny bit more than that. Maybe you need to lean partially forward, since leaning all the way forward would just flip the bike after certain jumps. You’ll have to get good at using the full range of motion on the analog stick and triggers, then do so at high speed.

If playing what amounts to a series of physics puzzles disguised as races gets old, you’re welcome to play a series of ’skill games’, short events meant to play very differently from normal tracks. They offer tasks ranging from seeing how far you can drive on a very limited tank of fuel to flying a UFO (I’m not kidding), or even seeing how far you can launch your rider. Some of these emphasize ragdoll physics, going out of their way to beat up said rider in all sorts of unusual ways. These mini-games are brief, but quite fun.

So far, most of what has been said also applies to the original Trials HD and you may understandably wonder what keeps this from just being an expansion pack for that game. There are several new features, ranging from minor ones like being able to unlock new outfits for your rider to racing against others online. Online play is probably the most significant addition, allowing up to four racers to compete at once. It seems to work decently for the most part, though like most online games your experience may vary based on network conditions.

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Our Rating for Trials Evolution Review (XBLA)
8.5 Replay
You get several tracks to start with, and the powerful level editor will allow players to provide many more over time. This is one game you’ll be coming back to often.
8.0 Graphics
Despite offering more variety in backgrounds while maintaining the hilarious ragdoll physics, the new camera occasionally gets in the way. A good looking game nonetheless.
7.0 Sound
The motorcycle’s sound effects work great alongside environmental noise. The soundtrack is decent but hard to notice over the action, and the rider’s frightened shouts occasionally play at odd times but you’ll be able to tolerate these issues.
9.0 Gameplay
A gradual difficulty curve eventually brings some very hard levels to you, but not before you’ve had a chance to learn on many more reasonable ones. It’s tough, but enjoyable. Players are also coming up with some clever custom stages already, and they should only get better at it in the future.
7.0 Multiplayer/Online Content
Local and online multiplayer races are offered, providing a fine distraction from the more precision-based ’stunt puzzles’ of the singleplayer stages.
9.0 Overall
A meaningful improvement to an already great game, Trials Evolution hits almost all the right notes. It’s challenging, but in a way that feels satisfying to overcome.

Rating: 5.0, votes: 1

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