+Lots of varied tracks
+Complex track editor
-Graphics aren't that great
-Some tracks require lots of restarts
Final score: 9 / 10
Controller support: Yes
A working Xbox 360 with an online connection for multiplayer and user-generated content
The Trials series may have started off as a simple browser-based Flash game many years ago but the RedLynx studio has turned it into a phenomenon thanks to 2009's Trials HD.
Now, with Trials Evolution, the developer is trying to improve on the already addictive experience by reworking the physics engine, improving and adding variety to the level design, while allowing users to create their own tracks and customize their riders or bikes.
Is Trials Evolution a successful trick or does it stumble before the finish line? Let's find out.
Ride your bike through different environments ...
... and partake in all sorts of experiences
While at first glance you might not see that big of a difference when going from Trials HD to Evolution, once you actually start going through tracks you'll notice an array of changes, chief among which being a reworked physics engine.
It certainly takes some time to get used to it but, thanks to the much more gentle learning curve, you'll soon get the hang of maneuvering your bike and your rider to get the best time possible.
If you want to describe Trials Evolution in a few words, it's certainly "easy to get into, hard to master," as you can surely complete most tracks, but if you want a gold medal and the best time possible, you're in for a big number of restarts, and even more once you unlock the platinum medals.
This is probably where the biggest fault of the game lies, as perfectionists, like myself and many of my friends, will find themselves spending half an hour on a single track to get that perfect score. Throw in the fact that you can see the ghost times of your friends as floating dots, and your competitive urge will certainly push you to try and try again.
Thankfully, most of the game's tracks are a blast to complete, as RedLynx has spent more time decorating both the background of the levels, as well as the actual surfaces you'll be running on, with all sorts of things. This can also be a downside, as you'll end up being mesmerized by a red moon or a certain element in the background and end up crashing because you weren't paying attention.
Luckily, there are plenty of checkpoints strewn across the tracks and you can easily revert to them by pressing B on your controller. If you want to completely restart the course, all you need to do is press the back button.
Customization plays a pretty big role in Trials Evolution, as you earn money by completing single-player races which can be spent on new clothes and accessories for your rider, as well as better-looking parts for your bike. These can then be painted in whatever color you want, so the combinations are endless.
If your creative juices aren't satisfied by this customization, then the track editor is perfect for you, as RedLynx puts at the player's disposal all sorts of tools that will help you mock-up, lay out, and decorate your own circuits. You won't be forced to design just tracks, as the editor can even generate completely different game modes, so all you need to do is experiment. These creations can then be shared online, where you can browse for other user-created items.
While you can have lots of fun with the single-player mode, without a doubt the most fun is available in the online one, where you can face off against three other people either locally or online, via Xbox Live.
You'll race on special tracks, however, which were specifically designed for four players, as each one gets his own lane. The camera remains zoomed in on the action and, if someone gets left behind too much, he'll disappear and reappear near the next checkpoint.
This mechanic is pretty good, as it keeps the action going, but can sometimes prove unfair, as a player can crash right before the last checkpoint and, once his opponents pass that point, he'll be able to easily accelerate to the finish without having to deal with other effects from previous jumps.
Besides this respawn mechanic, multiplayer races are a blast and will certainly entertain you and your friends.
Graphics and Sound
Trials Evolution isn't the pretties game out there and, if you restart a race, you'll notice a texture pop-in effect that gets a bit annoying, especially in a game where you start over quite a lot.
Even so, the game's strength lies in its rock solid frame rate and its long tracks filled with impressive elements. While some may be a bit generic, others possess a stunning beauty that will no doubt distract you from the actual racing.
In terms of music, you're treated with a traditionally rough soundtrack filled with hip-hop, rock and other types of songs usually associated with extreme sports. While they may not be everyone's cup of tea, the tracks fit the action on the screen. Also, you'll mostly be focused on getting a perfect score, so the music becomes just background noise.
Enjoy stunning vistas ...
... and great multiplayer races
Trials Evolution lives up to its name, offering all sorts of challenges to players and improving over the already impressive experience in Trials HD.
You'll jump with joy, you'll curse at the screen, and you'll laugh when playing with others, while putting your creativity to the test with the in-game editor.
All this, for just 1200 MS Points ($15/€15), makes Trials Evolution a stunning game.