I am a big fan of Trials games. They really nailed that simple yet addictive style of gameplay that arcade games need to be truly great. So much so that it was released for the relatively short-lived Xbox Live Arcade service on the Xbox 360 console. of attraction” that Microsoft believed the game had. And of course, was right to do so.
The series started out as an exclusive for Xbox gamers in terms of the console market, and Trials Evolution marked the last title where that was the case. Then PlayStation and Nintendo Switch owners were welcomed to the party. This game also marked the first occasion where PC gamers could properly get their hands on it, as in the very beginning, previous titles were humble browser games.
Evolution of trials was a sequel to the very well received HD trials, released on Xbox 360 a few years earlier. At its core, the game is a racer, whether against opponents or against the clock. However, the courses are essentially a collection of increasingly complex obstacle courses that are filled with jumps, drops, and loops. You’ll have to wrestle with the game’s physics to make sure your bike stays on track. This means rotating your pilot in the air to properly execute the landing and avoid fading. A standout memory for me was huge drops that provided some heart-in-the-mouth moments and were quite uplifting.
When playing solo in career mode, your main goal was to complete each of the fifty tracks as quickly as possible, with as few mistakes (or crashes) as possible. What made you smile was that once you reached the finish line, your runner slammed into the next obstacle, while you had to watch, helpless to intervene. It wasn’t as repetitive as it sounds though, due to the variety of locations you raced in as well as the brilliant variety of tracks in terms of design. There were also games of skill that mixed up gameplay, such as the need to balance a large marble for as long as possible while carefully rolling down a track.
Simply put, what also helps is that Trials Evolution was just a lot of fun to play. Thanks to its arcade DNA you could jump in and out, but there was enough to hold your attention for a session compromising a good few hours. Even when you had had enough of the single player mode, there was plenty to keep you entertained.
Trials Evolution offered local and online multiplayer with up to three other players, somewhat reminiscent of Excitebike, but with a substantial graphical overhaul. 3D racing on a 2D airplane again provided the ideal balance of new and old that perfectly matched the arcade feel of the game. In fact, overall the game ran smoothly and looked brilliant.
The comprehensive track editor paved the way for brilliant creations, and they could be shared with players all over the world. For those with a slightly less creative outlook, the “Lite Editor” made a return from Trials HD that wasn’t as overwhelming. To measure how awesome the “Pro Editor” was, take a look on YouTube for the Star Wars one. It feels like a completely different game. Then pinch yourself and check the release date of this game. It was pretty remarkable.
To personalize the experience and encourage replayability, Trials Evolution also offered the player the ability to customize their bike and rider with all manner of gear and parts. Money earned for performing well in career mode could be used to purchase these in-game items.
Evolution of trials lives up to its name thanks to the huge leap forward it represented for the franchise. This undoubtedly paved the way for the other two sequels – Merge of essays and Rising trials – but still an immensely playable game. Trials Evolution is still one of the best examples of a modern arcade game on the market today.