Trials HD tasks the player with riding from the starting point to the ending point, with numerous checkpoints and insane, potentially bone-breaking tricks in-between. The tricks range from something as simple as catapulting over a ramp fast enough to put out the flames on the rider, to something more elaborate like popping a wheelie to knock over a platform and backflip to safety followed by safely jumping over a pit full of explosives to land on the platform.
Trials HD offers one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences on the Xbox Live Arcade, making it one of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, and well worth the higher-end Marketplace price point of 1200 MS Points ($15).
2D Platformer – Motorcycle Game similar to Excite Bike or Freerider
Since Trials offers a unique experience, it’s a bit of a challenge to describe; similar to Excite Bike from NES, or the free online game Freerider, the player has a 2D side-scrolling point of view, and must guide the motorcycle rider across challenging levels.
The controls are quite simple; accelerate with the R trigger, brake with the L trigger, and lean with the left control stick, along with B to restart at a checkpoint and Back to restart the whole level. Players are allowed 500 checkpoint restarts or 30 minutes of game time to finish a level, which is more than enough in most cases, but, assuming the player actually has the patience to restart 500 times, may find themselves inching towards that limitation on the Extreme tracks.
Even from the first few levels players will quickly discover just how drastically leaning in different directions can alter momentum; leaning backwards will pop a wheelie while leaning forward will increase speed down a hill. Shifting weight backward and then quickly forwards before a ramp results in bigger airtime. Learning how to finesse and alter between speed and leaning direction is the key to victory in Trials HD.
Challenging but Rewarding Gameplay in Trials HD XBLA
Trials HD demands perfection, pin-point precision, and a heroic level of patience to complete. Simply completing all the stages offers one of the biggest challenges available on Xbox 360, but getting gold medals for all the levels has to be the Xbox 360’s most difficult challenge.
Gamers familiar with Stuntman on Xbox 360 should know what to expect from Trials, however, Trials is far more forgiving with frequent checkpoints. While gamers may, at first, shoot for silver or gold medals on the less difficult stages, soon the objective turns to simply reaching the next checkpoint and surviving the merciless stunts or “trials” that await the player next.
In the end, though, between some truly hilarious and gruesomely realistic crashes and the option to review replays, Trials HD may frustrate with absurd challenges, but it also rewards with bragging rights and a wild, roller-coaster ride of entertainment.
Trials HD Track Builder and other Extras
While the 50+ tracks comprise the bulk of the game, Trials HD also offers some unlockable mini-games and a Track Builder. While the limitations don’t allow players to create tracks as elaborate as the main game, creative players should appreciate its inclusion, especially players with several Trials friend to share tracks.
The mini-games range from flying a jet-pack motorcycle through flaming hoops, to launching the rider as far as possible down a slope, and much more. None of the mini-games offer the same level of depth and polish as the main levels, but they do offer fun distractions to the main game. In particular, the mini-game that tasks players with breaking as many bones as possible makes for a great way to relieve frustration.
Trials HD Review Conclusion
Even though some may find the challenges overwhelming, the difficulty offers a nice curve, and the frequent checkpoints are forgiving. The extras, mini-games, and track editor may not add significantly to the experience, but the main game offers depth, challenge, and some of the best level design yet seen in the entire Xbox 360 games library.