The Good: Excellent physics, lots of variety in environments, some fun mini-games, track editor and customization is a welcome inclusion
The Bad: Customization is basic and shallow, track editor isn't fun to use, some stages get extremely tough to master, some mini-games just aren't fun at all
Trials practically invented the 2D motocross physics genre, and now it has evolved the series a bit like the title implies. No longer are you confined to cramped and dark indoor environments or just being able to push your bike around. Now there is a bit of customization with some outdoor stuff thrown in, but the levels just got a whole lot crazier.
For starters the levels are better designed and can actually be mastered with practice on higher difficulties. The physics are a lot better so you feel like you are mastering levels on skill rather than dumb luck. The environments get pretty crazy with huge explosions, rushing water, sinking and rising platforms, and even some crazy mini-games. You can pick what bike you want now, so there is something here that anybody can master. The best part about this game is that every level is different. There are so many different levels it made looking forward to the next one fun. Some are so crazy that you are actually riding on a roller coaster track and actually feel like you're on one. Making huge jumps, steep drops, and crazy stunts makes you feel the adrenaline rush. The catch is that you have to be good at the game this time to master them and get gold medals.
Restarting at the checkpoints is as simple as pressing B and continuing on. Usually you will mess up a lot until you master the levels then you need to know just the right acceleration at certain jumps, and how to angle the bike. The last stages take precise memorization to master them, but it's fun because every time you retry you get better and better. There are some mini-games thrown in here, but I was disappointed with them. The physics don't really work with mini-games that try to do crazy things like the UFO one. As you accelerate your UFO will climb, but you have to land in a certain spot. I found this almost impossible because my UFO kept flipping around and landing upside down. There are a few mini-games on skies riding sand which is odd because you feel very top-heavy. The best ones are when you are just one your bike and doing things like conserving fuel between fuel stations, or trying to get as far as you can while flying through the air. Only a few are fun, but at least there's something different here.
Lastly, there's a track editor that I am not a fan of. I'm actually not a fan of any track editor because I prefer playing a game already made for me, but it's there for people who like that sort of thing. It's not very intuitive, but what console based editor is? There's some customization options here that are pretty shallow. You can customize your bike, but only aesthetically, and customizing your rider is about as simple as it gets. There's no option for a female rider which is disappointing. I really like where the series is going and hopefully the next one will take it even farther.
In the end, Trials Evolution has great physics and has more variety in environments this time around. You actually feel like you master the levels from skill and not luck. The customization options are pretty shallow and basic, but a few mini-games are a least fun. The track editor is very unwieldy, but that will be to everyone's taste. Trials Evolution is a solid Xbox LIVE Arcade game that any motocross fan will enjoy.