Trials Evolution is a downloadable 2.5D platform racing game developed by RedLynx and published by Microsoft Studios, it was released for the Xbox 360 via Xbox Live Arcade on April 18, 2012.
It was shown to the press and public at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Prime 2011 and Gamescom 2011. It was also shown at Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) 2012 as well as to public at PAX East 2012. Trials Evolution set a new record for the most day one downloadable sales on the Xbox Live Arcade, with over 100,000 downloads.
I will sing the praises of Trials HD for the rest of my life. When it comes to listing the greatest video games of all time, Trials HD is on that list and will stay on that list. I even finished, after three years, all of the achievements in the game. That’s how great Trials HD is. It set a new standard for downloadable games, how simple it is and yet how demanding it can be. The repeatability is through the roof, and yet it’s not a sixty dollar title.
Trials Evolution is continuing this trend. Trials HD players will be right at home with Trials Evolution. The early tracks are easy as pie and even the hard tracks are barely challenging. Trials HD pros will have to turn to the extreme tracks for a real challenge, and even then it’s not as challenging as Trials HD.
Tracks have a good variety to them, you’ll ride on a baseball field, jump trains, ride on fire escapes, all while the scenery blows up around you. None of the tracks feel recycled, leaving the indoor setting behind for the outdoor environment. There’s even a track that takes around ten minutes if you’re a solid player, twenty if you’re just average.
The addicting element returns here, beating your friends time and earning platinum medals brings the repeatability up, just like Trials HD. There’s also plenty of new skill games, from rolling a giant ball “Marble Madness” style to flying a UFO to landing pads. There’s plenty to do when you’re not trying to beat your old time.
The track editor returns as well, with more options that I’m sure will push the limits of what people put together. In fact it’s there’s so many options you can make a first person shooter! The best part of the track editor is that you can download anyone’s tracks. Unlike Trials HD, you don’t need to have the person on your friends list. RedLynx is also releasing their own custom tracks.
New to the game is the ability to buy new parts for your rider and your bike. From gloves to helmets, you’ll earn cash for finishing tracks and earning medals, and can spend the cash on your bike and riders clothes.
The items are cosmetic only though, and bring nothing more to the table then showing off how much money you’ve earned. One cool feature is two shirts and the Micro Donkey bike can be unlocked if you’ve earned achievements in Trials HD, a nice shout out to those of us who finished the whole game.
The achievements are somewhere in the middle, between easy, medium, and pull your hair out. There are people who finished the game in a day, so none of the achievements are impossible. For those casual players, I figure you’ll get about half before you give up. The good news to the achievements is that there’s a total score of four hundred instead of two, making this the first XBLA game to get that many points from the start.
The draw distance in the game has been increased, giving around five hundred meters of visible area at any given time, and the game runs at a locked 60 frames per second. It’s fairly impressive for an Xbox Live Arcade game, it’d be even more impressive if the game was able to support the graphics.
And that’s how I’m starting the negatives of this review. Far too many tracks, almost all of them if I’m honest, have issues creating the detail when you restart a checkpoint or load up a track. In some instances, I’ve been able to start the track before the track’s graphics can fully load up, and that’s bad, very bad, considering the first game never had this problem.
Another issue that frequently happens is spawning with your rear tires and in some cases half of your bike stuck in the ground. You’ll also easily clip into the environment, and a good run will be ruined because you can’t drive out of the steel rail you fell through. These issues keep happening and I could let it go if it happened once or twice, but it’s a constant issue.
The music is a mixed bag, offering you some songs with lyrics but mostly it’s instrumental. The opening rap/rock mix is annoying though, and making it worse are the load times.
Loading up to the main menu, then loading to the track selection and bike selection take to long, and often times I thought my game was frozen because the loading icon would random stop and hold in the middle of everything. Couple the loading time with the graphics issue, and you’ve already got a step down from Trials HD.
Another issue, and this is important, is the new rider. He can take absolutely no damage at all. You can have a great run only to barely tap the rider’s helmet and that’s an automatic crash. In Trials HD, this wasn’t an issue, in fact you could land face first, and flip the bike over or pull it back to the standard position without faulting.
This time around, there’s no room for error, making it even harder then it needs to be. Certain tracks have areas where hitting the riders head is next to impossible, and in the first game this was never a problem, in fact it was sometimes necessary to finish a track.
RedLynx swore up and down the game would be easier, and maybe to an extent it is, but the rider faulting so easily drives the difficulty back up beyond “Trials HD” difficulty.
The online component of the game is broken at best. If you can find a game, good luck finishing the race before people drop out due to connection issues.
What really gets me though, is how long we had to wait for Trials Evolution. Hinted at first in 2010, showed off a few times in 2011, Trials players had to put up with two delays and no new tracks for Trials HD. Now Evolution comes out, and there’s graphical issues along with other quality issues. You’d think since they took so long to get the game out, and delayed it a few times, there wouldn’t be any issues at all. My hope is that RedLynx is getting patches together to fix the issues, but I haven’t heard anything on that front yet.
Trials Evolution tries to continue the legacy Trials HD started. As a sequel, it’s an okay follow up. Fans of Trials HD will dig in and find plenty to do, but they will also experience a lot of faults with the game.
New players will enjoy it more since they didn’t play Trials HD. It’s hard to suggest picking up the game for the full 1200 Microsoft Points unless you have extra points laying around.
My advice, stick with Trials HD.