Simplicity is a beautiful word.
It doesn’t want to confuse and frustrate, it has no need for overcomplicated ideas and confuddling brainwaves and it positively guffaws at those believers in more is better.
Simplicity is a word that cuts straight to the chase.
And simplicity is a word that has been embraced wholeheartedly by RedLynx and their Trials HD follow up, Trials Evolution.
Of course RedLynx haven’t sat back sipping cool drinks and watching Kick Start re-runs this past year, no, the company have been busy working magic, and it must have been some devilish black magic at play as somehow they’ve managed the seemingly impossible, they’ve managed to release a game that is even more addictive and impressive than the wonderful Trials HD.
Trials Evolution is a work of genius. A game more potently addictive than the contents of a drug barons briefcase , a game that will suck away hours of your life without you even being aware of the passing of time, a game that has the power to make you smile, grimace, growl and laugh all at the same time, a game that is even more moreish than a family bag of Munchies, I know you can’t believe it but I swear it’s the truth.
Trials Evolution is simply stunning.
The game at it’s core plays very much like it’s older Trials HD brother. Race your dirtbike from the starting point across all manner of crazy obstacles, outrageous jumps, steep inclines and dramatic plummets till you reach the finish line in a breathless blaze of glory, sometimes with the bike, literally, ablaze. You have no control over direction, you just need to concentrate on speed and balance, and to become a true hero of Trials Evolution you’re going to have to become a Jedi of speed and balance.
Success and failure in Trials Evolution are separated by the slightest of lines. Finding the right combination of speed versus the lean of your rider is vital, doing this at pace across the wonderfully inventive and taxing tracks is a daunting prospect and one that will see you re-running sections of track time and time again after once more seeing your rider lying broken and bruised after a slight misjudgement. In most games these re-runs would become an utter nightmare and a great reason to turn off the console amid a flurry of colourful language, not though in Trials Evolution.
Here you’ll find yourself happily repeating the same section of track without a care in the world, the game is just that good that the frustration factor always stays at bay.
The game never feels unfair, difficult challenges, despite at times seeming nigh on impossible, are all conquerable with some practice and care. Trials Evolution demands you approach each section on your toes and alert. There are no prizes for simply cranking the throttle and hoping for the best, to succeed within this game takes skill and timing, oh and occasionally a smattering of luck.
So far then it sounds very much like Trials HD again, so let’s see what’s new.
First off of course is location. Gone are the warehouse interiors and metal feel of the original and in their place comes the great outdoors, and it looks stunning!
The detail given to the levels is superb and keeps things very fresh indeed. Racing under blood red skies, through lush green fields or even through a warzone all has wonderful impact, in fact at times I almost got lost within the backdrops much to the pain of my rider.
There’s also a brand spanking new level creation tool that opens up vast track building possibilities to anyone willing to spend a little time getting to grips with the tools. It’s the same creator that the game designers themselves used making the game so those more creative among us should be able to put together some fiendishly outlandish tracks for fellow gamers to attempt. The early tracks I’ve sampled show some real promise and this feature alone means the game has what basically amounts to an endless lifecycle, there should always be something new to take on.
The single player continues along the route of the original Trials HD, complete courses to unlock bikes and progress up the licence ranks. As you attempt each track the names of players from your friends list who’ve already been, seen and conquered the course hover overhead and show you how they progressed and how you’re faring against them.
Alongside this the challenge mode has now become a bit of a monster with numerous completely zany and wild tasks on offer. These range from the usual stuff like completing a course without leaning through to such madness as flying a UFO or donning a pair of ski’s. All the challenges are a nice change from the point to point racing and also raise plenty of laughter and occasionally the feeling that the developers were perhaps just slightly unhinged.
Xbox Live is available this time round with point to point races playing out in a similar style to freebie Xbox title ‘Crash Course.’ This leads to some intense racing action, some panic moments as you’re left in everyone’s wake after coming unstuck and some truly joyous victories. The usual leaderboards are in place also. It is a great accompaniment to the single player and challenge modes and makes the overall package incredibly substantial.
All in all what more needs to be said? Trials Evolution is, right now, at the pinnacle of the Xbox LIVE Arcade. RedLynx have taken the original Trials HD, kept the basics, fine tuned the engine, added some go faster extras and delivered an astonishing game. It demands ‘one more go’ until one more go has become 3 more hours.
Addictive, clever, challenging, beautiful, joyous and wonderful, part racer, part platformer, all powerful, Trials Evolution is a gift from the gaming Gods. Get it, get it now!