Trials HD

By on August 24, 2009

The fun and creative challenges will test your mettle and keep you coming back for more.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

“How difficult can this be ?” You may ask yourself after picking up the controller and trying out redlynx’s newly released digital drug – Trials HD. Its almost demonic, how such a simple concept can be so addictive, yet frustrating at the same time. After battling it out against a particularly nasty track, you finish, not in victory, but rather with a feeling of relief. Yet, you feel that given another shot at the level, you can shave off yet a few more seconds off the time. Thus the cycle continues.

http://www.megamers.com/downloads/1Review%20Big%20Screenshot/12511070161.jpg

Trials HD is in its basis a 3D  racing/puzzle game, played on 2D tracks. The main premise is that you have to get a bike to finish a track. Its incredibly simple, there is no turning, the only controls one has to worry about is the acceleration, the brakes, and shifting the riders weight. However, due to a clever physics engine, as well as fiendish track designs this is one of the more difficult games on the XBLA. By controlling the acceleration and braking, as well as the drivers body, the player has to complete the puzzles, disguised as courses.

One quickly learns that hitting the gas is not the way to finish the game, they must also master breaking, and controlling the bikers body position. As you can guess the levels get fiendishly difficult towards the ends of the game. In the beginning, tracks can be done in under a minute, often flawlessly. Later on, you’ll really appreciate the generous error limit (the amount of times you can crash out) as well as the frequent checkpoints. The checkpoints are well placed (they have to be), each one just before a physics “puzzle”. No doubts about it, later on the game is hard. However, this is partially relieved by being to restart at the previous checkpoint, instantly, at the press of a button. The physics are spot on whether driving through chaotic courses, or whenever you crash out, you know the errors in your control that contributed to that crash. To pass the later levels, you would have to be taking off at the right speed, land at the right angle, and lean perfectly not to crash out. The crash outs themselves are also ingenious – there seems to be bombs and barrels conveniently placed on, or around the track, and the rider has a tendency to hit them, causing both bike and body to be thrown around the desolate course. A bright comic styled “crash” sign rubs in the failure, yet seems  optimistic, almost daring you to try again.

The tracks mostly seem to take place in dingy warehouses, and although the background is slightly repetitive, there is enough variation in level design to over look that. If you’re tired of the levels, you can try out the challenges. These were my favorite puzzles, just because they were so varied. They range from you flinging your driver, trying to break as many bones as possible, to transporting bombs, to even flying(literally) through aerial fire loops. However, they are only unlocked after the stages are completed.

If you don’t wanna drive anymore, there is also an extremely comprehensive level editor, where you can build your own levels, and create your own obstacles and puzzles. The editor allows you to create levels as varied and convoluted as those in the game, for those who have the patience. However, sharing tracks is extremely disappointing. You can only download tracks your friends have made, there is no community option, either to upload, or download maps.

Graphics for this game are neither really exceptional, nor anything too bad. The bike looks good, as do the levels and the player. Explosions are nice and beefy as is the fire and the way the bike breaks after doing a mistake. The environment looks dings (as it should) and objects fall and break as expected. Sound also is  adequate, with the music neither being neither inappropriate nor over bearing. When ever pulling off some of the more audacious stunts, you’ll hear voices cheering for you, although these are really meant for comic effect.

http://www.megamers.com/downloads/1Review%20Big%20Screenshot/12511070162.jpg

In the end, theres nothing really revolutionary with Trials HD. The game is simple yet excruciating at times, and more often than not you finish levels more relieved than anything. However, the games solid physics and tight controls, along with the unique challenges keep you gong back for more. Theres a lot of levels to choose from, and along with the map editor, as well as infuriating difficulty in the later levels, you’ll be playing this game for a while.


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
9
Top notch Physics and tight controls make this fun to play. However some of the later levels are insane, and repeating one annoying section a dozen times – Not so fun.
GRAPHICS
8.5
Sharp textures and realistic bike animations as well as comical rag doll physics and explosions give this game decent scores.
SOUND
8
Sound is nothing exceptional, with the soundtrack being decent but not over bearing. The whimsical cheers can either provide comic relief, or annoy, depending on how many times you are trying the same stunt.
VALUE
8.5
Plenty of levels , plenty of challenges, and a leader-board that will have you trying to shave your time as much as possible means that this is worth your MS-points.
FUN FACTOR
8.8
The game is definitely fun – when you are not stuck behind a puzzle youve been trying for 30 minutes. Still you can download a replay to see how the pros completed the level, or you can try some of the many fun challenges.
OVERALL
8.6
Sure the game is tough at times, even infuriating. However, the controls, the physics, and the challenges will keep you coming for more. The level editor will allow you to create your own mind-warping levels, and if you ever get tired of the courses, there are always the fun and creative challenges to further test your control.

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