"Easy to play, hard to master" should be a mantra for all games developers, and has certainly been embraced by Trials developer RedLynx. This wonderfully accessible but fiendishly challenging motorcycle game demands real skill and patience to succeed on the most difficult tracks.
Fortunately, the early levels, skill games and license tests do a great job in teaching players how to control the bike, jump and land. There are no boring tutorials.
The game's popular predecessor was confined to a warehouse, but now there is terrific variety and scale to the spacious outdoor courses. Now you can jump over obstacles on tracks suspended high in the clouds, tackle courses reminiscent of World War II battlefields (complete with explosions) and hurtle down huge mountains. Some tracks are even curved, play with gravity, resemble rollercoasters or make tributes to other games.
Players progress by winning gold, silver and bronze medals determined by their finishing time and number of spills. The more flexible and rewarding structure ensures that no one level is a roadblock to progress towards the extreme challenges, and the urge to improve your skills and leaderboard standing is always very strong.
Some of the stages are truly over-the-top, and RedLynx has also ramped up the slapstick humour. The hapless rider is often subjected to pain and humiliation during spectacular falls, explosions and other calamities.
Players can also construct their own courses using the same tools that RedLynx used. Creating a simple track is easy, and the flexibility of the toolset is very impressive for those that want to seriously tinker. There is bound to be thousands of community-built creations able to be downloaded soon, with RedLynx providing inspiration with wacky diversions like shooting, flying and skiing games.
The package is even better value-for-money thanks to riotous four-player local or online action that is cleverly balanced between demanding speed and careful precision. Multi-player games are not only highly competitive but also frequently hilarious.
What have you been playing lately?
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