Trials HD Preview - The Next Level

Game Profile

Xbox Live Arcade
Release date:
Summer 2009

Trials HD

Proving that simple isn't the same as easy.

Preview by James Cunningham (Email)
June 7th 2009

Physics is good for you. It forces you to stick to the earth, keeps your molecules together, and keeps the planets spinning. But it's also a force that can be used for evil, such as when simulated on a motocross bike Then things get out-of-control addictive at high speeds.

It's going to be beautifully brutal.

Trials HD was a pleasant surprise at E3. It's a continuation of the popular PC Trials games, most notably Trials 2, in which a motocross rider takes his bike across a series of 2D obstacle courses (rendered in full 60-FPS 3D, of course) set up using whatever happens to be lying around the warehouse. This doesn't sound like much, but it's one of the most devious challenges around thanks to the intricate courses and the subtle effects proper control manipulation can give to the bike's momentum. The bike and its rider have a total of four controls: accelerate, decelerate, lean forward, and lean backward. Propulsion is rear-wheel drive, and both front and back wheels have springy shocks that provide plenty of bounce.

Rider from Trials HD

Say there's a hill made from 2x4s leading to a short, flat surface of stacked pallets, and then a drop onto the curve of a monster truck tire standing upright. There are a couple of ways to handle this - though because it's a time trial, fastest is always best. You can accelerate up the hill, onto the pallet, and then drop carefully onto the tire, or you can floor it while carefully leaning forward just enough to keep both wheels on the board, then lean back near the top to load the rear springs and forward again quickly to use the pop of the springs for some good forward momentum off the jump, completely bypassing the tire. Of course, you'll want to know what's past there so you can land properly, but that's another set of obstacles to worry about. Things only get more complex from here, though, with reverse drops, bounce-backs off vertical surfaces, back and forward flips, and much, much more.

Trials HD will add a pile of new mini games to the familiar obstacle course, such as the one shown where the motorcycle is inside a giant ball. Looping around causes the ball to roll, but it moves in odd ways as the track it's on drops and rises, making it very easy to fall off the bike. RedLynx also showed off a mode involving pulling a wagon full of nukes, where dropping them leads to very bad and explosive things happening. There are another ten mini games on top of that, and even a level editor, allowing full sharing of user-created levels among friends.

Trials 2 was a fantastic game, deeply addictive and pure evil in the best possible way. Trials HD is promising more of the same with a load of new goodies added, an added helping of pyrotechnics, refined analog braking and acceleration, and all the bone-crunching humor of crashes gone horribly wrong fans would expect. It's going to be beautifully brutal.

displaying x-y of z total