For those just joining the world of Trials, Evolution is downloadable content supremacy. $15 is a steal for this sequel to Trials HD, a title that was dubbed best Xbox Live Arcade game of ‘09. This 2012 edition of the series carries the torch just as its predecessor did. So far, early sales numbers have sky-rocketed and have allowed Evolution to break first day records. Not bad for a sports racing title.
Trials is a time-based motorcycle game that is centered around winning medals. Better times and fewer faults equal shinier awards. Beginning with single-player career mode, you start at the bottom and work your way up through license tests issued at the turn of each difficulty level. Each test will require a certain amount of earned medals before you're qualified to take it, so a good strategy is to grab as many gold medals as you can in the easier earlier stages. As career mode progresses, levels become increasingly more challenging to beat without any faults—frustration levels may rise.
But improving on your time is more than possible—your desire to do better will undoubtedly force you to hit the restart button at any imperfection in a run. If earning gold medals isn’t on your agenda, you can simply enjoy the cinema of it all. The physics engine creates a realistic yet over-the-top display that always has an affinity for chaos. You will quickly learn that every degree in an angle matters and over- or under-leveling your bike can result in disaster. This makes adapting to courses and gaining momentum very important in the success of runs.
After mastering some of your favorite stages, you can then take your learned skills online and play in wild free-for-all course slugouts. Each rider is equipped with unlimited resets; the only objective is to finish first. But each fault or reset used counts against a final score tallied after every race. There are a few different race types with Supercross being the standard and most common. Four racers line up side by side and dart off in pursuit of number one. Other courses allow for opponents being turned into ghost data and you only see a hazy outline of their riders. The best part of multiplayer is you can play locally—many “multiplayer” games recently haven’t had local options for some odd reason.
Other modes include Tournament and Skill Game Circus. The latter steps outside of the motorcycle box and generates mini-games, such as dirt skiing, rolling marbles, and other unfocused shenanigans. Long after tiring yourself of all the factory-operated modes, Track Editor will keep playing time revving for months to come. Either spark up your creative talent and build a custom track from the ground up or mooch from other editing enthusiast and play through a wide range of quick downloadable courses.
Not only can you manufacture motorcycle-groomed courses, but much like Skill Game Circus, producing random games like Jetman and Angry Bikers (based from the popular Angry Birds series) can be done as well. Whichever mode you are in, backgrounds and stage interactions display a dazzling and somewhat mesmerizing sight. Environments present eye candy no one can turn away from. Dark levels still have a shine that keeps everything charming and crisp. Levels like the ones that rotate as you advance through spin in fluid fashion and add new ideas that are a breath of fresh air.
Most everything in this sequel has been accounted for, except player and bike customizing. Unfortunately, this leaves much room for improvement. After purchasing just about everything in the garage store, there isn’t much to update besides the colors of your attire and motorcycle. If only I could take my spare cash in the game and transfer it into my real bank account… if only…
The most important aspect of Trials Evolution is its lasting power. I could play this over and over for a long time without succumbing to boredom. It’s all so well-polished and with its continuous updates of playable content, there’s no reason not to keep playing. 3D graphics played on a 2D surface add a touch of smoothness that Michael Jackson would be proud of. Once again, at $15 dollars, you couldn’t ask for a better bargain. Now fans of the series definitely won’t be able to contain excitement in anticipation for whenever RedLynx wants to outdo themselves, again.