Trials HD, released in early December of 2009 by RedLynx studios, is perhaps one of the most highly rated and recommended Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) games on the marketplace. Most people will recognise Trials HD for its uncanny resemblance to both of RedLynx’s original games of Trials and Trials 2: second edition which were released as flash games for the PC. Even though the XBLA version isn’t called Trials 3, it is the third game in the series and it offers new levels and improvements to the table. Trials HD brings over 50 tracks that will test skill, brain power, and patience. And the controls are very simple: the right and left triggers accelerate and break and the left analog stick leans your rider forward and back, all with one common goal: Get to the finish line in one piece!
There are three main things to do in Trials HD and these are: the solo ‘campaign’, tournament mode and skill games, but besides these there is also RedLynx’s most treasured editor mode where you can build and share your own custom tracks with other Xbox live users.
The single player campaign is comprised of five difficulty levels (beginner ~ extreme), each with a tutorial to help start you off with the necessary mechanics for the following levels. You start on Beginner difficulty and as you progress, you unlock more of the challenges, other difficulty levels and new bikes which have different attributes which need to be later considered. Each individual track earns you a medal for good completion times or scores, which personally for me is a key part of the game as it sets you a common goal of beating your friend’s personal bests.
After completing certain levels of the ‘campaign’ you begin to unlock new tournaments in the tournament mode which each have a series of events. Now unlike the main campaign challenges, where you can restart if you’re not doing well, the tournaments require you to complete all of the events in one go. This provides quite a hard challenge for the average gamer as well as the achievement hunters in all of us as Trials HD’s biggest achievement “Marathon – 40G” requires you to complete a tournament which contains 20 levels from the campaign in one go without falling once!
Finally, Trials HD has a series of skill games you can play which need to be unlocked through general game play. These are even wilder, because they don’t involve straight-up racing but instead brings skill to the game which in the long run can actually improve your game play for solo mode. Examples of skill games include: ski jumping, where your character has skis attached to the bike and you ride as fast as you can off a ski jump and actually bail in order to get a farther distance!; up-hill challenge, in which you have to perfect your up-hill mountain riding capabilities; and also bomb carrier challenge, where speed isn’t everything as you carry a nuclear missile on a wheelbarrow 3 feet behind you along a tricky undulating course.
The elements that go into Trials HD is what makes it such a success. In addition to its slick physics, the graphics are detailed, sharp and clear (what you’d expect by anything ending in HD). The terrain remains a series of dingy warehouses taken over by motorcyclists thrived on bashing themselves and flying around the ramps. The audio is generally ‘soft pedalled’ with a great backing soundtrack, though when you make a particularly big jump or put the rider through a extra-ordinary smash-up, you’ll hear whoops, hollers and grunts that are guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.
At only 1200 Microsoft point’s (approx. £10), Trials HD is definitely worth every penny and I am proud to say this is my favourite XBLA game to date. Its mix of fun, explosive, rag-doll motorcyclist killing moments is what keeps the game enjoyable. That said, its challenging achievements and levels are what keep me playing for hours on end!
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.