Kicking off this Spring’s Xbox Arcade Next promotion RedLynx brings us Trials Evolution. Trails Evolution is the sequel to the developers highly addictive Xbox Live Arcade title Trials HD. With Trials HD gamers, like myself, found themselves sucked in to the highly addictive motocross track puzzles and addictive mini-games. With Trials Evolution the tracks and world are bigger and more challenging then ever.
The first thing you’ll notice about Trials Evolution is the game moves from the closed off warehouses of Trials HD and now takes place outside in various wide open locations. You’ll find yourself traversing environments from junkyards and docks, to forests and deserts. But beyond the new areas you’ll be pulling big air in, you’ll also be faced with new hazards to conquer. For instance one of the tracks has large water pipes that shoot out high pressured water throwing you into the air. The tracks also seem to have a lot more flare to them as well, with more things blowing up or bursting into flames around you then the original title. Like the water pipes described above these things aren’t always for looks and at times they will be part of the puzzle of the track.
The other new thing about the tracks you’ll notice is they don’t stick to straight lines anymore. Many tracks will have curves and turns in them, while you don’t have to steer at times the curves will take you by surprise as your rider and camera will start swinging around a turn. These curves are a bit of a shock the first time you run a track as I found myself look ahead straight on the screen for obstacles and not noticing what was really in front of me after the curve. The tracks are a ton of fun, but like Trials HD the difficulty ramps up really quick, and at times you’ll be bashing your head trying to clear one track just to flying right through the next track without problems. But the tracks are very addicting and you’ll be trying to ace them and beat your friends times. I found myself replaying the same track easily for 15-20 minutes just to better my time. As you play single player tracks you’ll see dots with your friend’s names moving along with you to show you where on the track you stand compared to them. It’s nice and simple but I would have really liked a ghost option. Sometimes I just wanted to see how exactly my friends cleared a section, and dots don’t show that. Another thing I noticed missing is some sort of indication on where you stand compared to the tracks medal ranking. You won’t know what type of medal you’ll be getting until you finish the track. The mini-games have indicator meters for their goals, I’m surprised the single player tracks don’t as well.
The structure of the game has slightly changed. While the goal is to still earn as many medals as possible, but the way the tracks are grouped is different then the first game. As you progress and earn medals you’ll have to do License Test which are required for different groups of tracks. You’ll also be trying to earn money in all the modes of play. The money can then be spent on new gear and new parts to trick out the look of your bikes. The license Test aren’t really a challenge but more of a tutorial that shows you new aspects of completing the tracks. It would have been nice if these test had some sort of goal in order to get your license other than follow the directions.
Mini-games are also a bit different. They are much more outlandish in Trials Evolution. Overall I didn’t find them as appealing as the first game. Most of the challenges are so detached from Motor-Cross that they don’t make much sense. For instance the Marble Madness type event, where you are rolling a ball on a tight edge-less course, or the ski event where you really are just on skis on a dirt track trying to land flips.
Now the reason the mini-games are so outlandish is because of the upgrades made to the track editor. The track editor takes many cues from LittleBigPlanet. You can now not only create bike tracks, but also non bike mini-games, like the First Person Shooter game that the RedLynx team has already created. The editor comes in two forms a lite form which is still quite complex but more geared to track creation, and then the advanced version if for those looking to make their own game. I think the lite editor should have been much more stripped down. they should have removed the 3D space and just allowed you to plop down piece and move them around a bit. Pretty much the lite editor should have allowed you to create a basic track in under 10 minutes and leave all the other stuff in the advanced editor.
New to Trials Evolution is true multiplayer. Like Trials HD you’ll see your friends progress as you play the single player mode, but with online and local multiplayer you can now go head to head with others. There are three multiplayer modes, Supercross is fast side by side racing action, Trials is like the single player game except you’ll see ghosts of the other players your racing against, and then Trials Hardcore which like Trials mode is one lane tracks but this time it’s the harder tracks unlike Trials easy/medium tracks.
The graphics of Trials Evolution, have……. evolved (pun intended). With the outside locations the world looks big and vast and there are so many more objects and items filling up the environments then the original game. Explosions and particle effects remain really cool, and the rag doll physics of your rider after a wipeout is pretty damn cool. How can you not laugh and go OUCH when his head slams into a pole or ledge? Like Trials HD the game looks very good and flashy. The only graphical hiccup is when the track loads many of the graphics pop in but once you get the go signal its smooth sailing.
Trials Evolution is an amazingly addictive game. It’s a great game for any age and skill gamer and the social aspects and leader boards will make you play the tracks countless times to better your rank. The addition of multiplayer is great. Multiplayer execution is done very well, and is a blast to play with a bunch of friends. The editors are nice and the advanced editor will be a big time consumer for the hardcore gamer, I would have liked to seen the lite editor stripped down even more to make track creation much faster and simpler. The bottom line is Trials Evolution is a highly addictive XBLA title, and like the first game it’s now one of my favorites. Trials Evolution is a must buy for any gamer looking for a fun good-looking head scratching game.
A copy of Trials Evolution for Xbox 360 was provided to us for this review from Ubisoft/RedLynx