Try This: Trials Evolution

I’ve been bouncing between three very different games the last couple of weeks—all of them refreshingly unique. This week I’ll share my impressions of these games, what makes them different, and why you should try them. We’ll start with Trials Evolution.

What is it?

Trials Evolution is the sequel to Trials HD, but familiarity with the previous game isn’t required. In fact you’re better off skipping the first game entirely. Trials Evolution plays the same, but has a gentler learning curve, more variety, better level design, and a thriving online community. Trials Evolution is a fantastical take on the real world sport of motocross trials, which is sort of like parkour on a dirt bike. Your goal is to drive through insane courses filled with impossible obstacles, while attempting to stay upright on your bike.

What’s so special about it?

Trials utilizes a mostly realistic physics engine that gives you direct control of your rider and bike. While playing you get the sense that they are two distinct entities operating in the game world. The slightest change in rider position or throttle pressure can mean the difference between a perfect run and a bone shattering face plant. This is a game the rewards skillful play and punishes sloppiness.

Five Reasons to Try Trials

1. Fun tribute tracks. There are several tribute tracks scattered throughout the game that pay homage to XBLA hits like Limbo and Super Meat Boy and movies like Inception and Sin City.

2. Creative level design Aside from the tribute tracks there are dozens of creative tracks that are worth the price of admission alone. These tracks range from a crumbling dam to a medieval castle. I have a lot of favorites, but nothing beats the first time you speed through Titan Graveyard.

3. Ridiculous minigames. The silly skill games are a fun change of pace. There’s a wide variety of games to play, including a Marble Madness-like game, an explosion based game inspired by XBLA hit Splosion Man, a skiing minigame, even a game that puts you in pilot seat of a UFO.

4. Versatile level creator. If you’re in to making your own tracks or minigames, you’ll find that the pro editor is quite a capable tool. If you’re like me and don’t have time to make your own, you can enjoy the insane creations of the passionate community. Two weeks out and there’s already a first person shooter, a top down shoot-em-up, a jetpack joyride type game and much, much more.

5. Multiplayer for everyone. You can compete online in head to head races, go solo against the ghosts of the best players, or battle for dominance on each track with your friends. Trials is constantly making you aware of how you stack up to others, and it pushes you try a track one more time.

You might like Trials if…

Did you enjoy the punishing challenge and fast pace of Super Meat Boy? If so, Trials will scratch that masochistic itch (you crazy person you). Trials might have dirt bikes in it, but it’s not a racing game. This is a platformer on two wheels. A test of dexterity and skill every bit as challenging, infuriating and rewarding as Super Meat Boy.

Trials is available now on Xbox Live Arcade for $15 or 1200 Microsoft Points, try it! I’ll be back later this week with game number two, Fez.