Quick Review: Trials HD

With August being such a busy month, I wasn’t able to find time to review a couple games that I played during that time. Typically, the summer months are a bit of a drought when it comes to new game releases, and this year was no exception. It seems the folks at Microsoft have picked up on this and hold their bigger Xbox Live Arcade title releases until July and August, dubbing these months the “Summer of Arcade.” For the second year running, we’ve been treated to some excellent games topping out at 1200 Microsoft Points. Trials HD being one that grabbed my attention, and that of plenty of my Xbox Live friends.

Let’s Reminisce

A few years back I worked in a corporate environment and pretty regularly links would be shared internally via email. One morning, a link to a Flash game arrived in my inbox which almost entirely diminished productivity for the remainder of the week. That game, was one of the first Trials games to make the rounds, and boy was I ever hooked! When I saw Trials HD show up in the Marketplace, I was thrilled and immediately downloaded the demo. Hoping for a simple refresh of an old favourite, I was completely blown away by the quality of this budget title.

Gorgeous!

To say Trials HD has good graphics is an understatement. This game sports better visuals than many full blown titles without a doubt. I was immediately reminded of LittleBigPlanet, and when you take into consideration the side-scrolling nature of the game, the slightly angled camera to show the 3D landscape, and the lighting techniques, you’ll see why.

Hard to Put Down

The core gameplay is simple – get from point A to B as fast as you can, with as few faults as possible. A medal is awarded at the end of each level and you’re told what you need to do to improve on that medal, if possible. On the same screen is a leaderboard displaying all of your friends’ scores. So perhaps you just achieved the gold medal, but your buddy has a faster completion time – here in lies the extremely addictive nature of Trials HD.

Courses are grouped into varying difficulty levels, and you definitely notice when you move from one tier to another. Often, moving to the next tier feels impossible at first. But I found that returning to the previous tier and working improving my scores was the practice I needed to be able to keep progressing through the tiers. Mind you, the Extreme courses are still complete madness!

Added Value

Whoooa! Whoooa!

“Whoooa! Whoooa!”

A series of mini games are unlocked as you complete the main career mode, which are all kinds of fun, even if they are silly in nature. They range from balancing on top of a huge metal ball for as long as possible, to towing a cart full of explosives, and even hurdling your rider as far as possible. As with the career, there are leaderboards for each of these games as well, and I find myself returning to them fairly often to see if I’m still in the top 3.

There’s even a track editor, which lets you create and share your own tracks. And of course, you can download and play tracks created by your friends, and other games on Xbox Live.

Achievements are very well balanced and quite obtainable, with the exception of one, which requires you to do a very long series of courses without making a single fault. I’m not even going to attempt that one.

A No-Brainer

Trials HD can have it’s frustrating moments, but when you finally make it over an obstacle that you’ve faulted on a couple dozen times, it’s extremely satisfying. Going back and blowing through the easier courses at full throttle is always a good time, and the mini games are great for a laugh. All-in-all, Trials HD is a fantastic game at a very reasonable price – how can you go wrong?

Rating: 5/5

Trials HD

12 Responses to “Quick Review: Trials HD”

  1. Over here in the UK 1,200 points cost about 8 quid, during Xbox Live's Summer of Arcade I spent some of the best lots of that amount ever!

    Trials HD had me all over my 360 for hours on end and had me going back and fourth throughout the courses trying to beat my friends times by points of a second, including yours.

    I made the commitment with one of my pals to not use any retries, and if we did happen to fall of the bike we'd start the level all over again, sometimes I'd end up playing the same level deep into the early hours of the morning.

    I guess this made for a more challenging game, I still have yet to finish all the tracks let alone the Skill Games that come bundled with it.

    If you haven't bought this game yet I definitely recommend you at least checking out the demo, for 1,200 points you can't go wrong although I wished Microsoft would have spaced out the releases of Trials HD and Shadow Complex, at times I couldn't make a decision on what to play.

    Looking forward to hear what you thought of Shadow Complex, definitely one of my favourites of the year so far!

    • I made the commitment with one of my pals to not use any retries

      That's insane! Early on, sure. But once you get into the hard courses, there's no way.

      Shadow Complex got kicked to the curb when Batman: Arkham Asylum came out and I just recently got back into it. Finished off the story, but still have lots to collect. Finding it a bit tedious at this point and not sure I'll ever reach 100%, but it's definitely a top notch game and I'll be reviewing it soon. Just have to spend a bit of time with the challenges first.

      • That’s insane! Early on, sure. But once you get into the hard courses, there’s no way.

        You're right about that, if I do dedicate myself to a course I need to find at least 2 hours in the day for even the slightest chance of finishing the level. It's crazy but you definitely get your money's worth!

    • Trine is looking pretty great, and we should be seeing it very soon. Apparently, it's being released in the UK this week, which hopefully means next week for NA.

  2. I don't know if you've noticed this but you're being awfully nice in your reviews as of late. That hurts my wallet! Although, I can definitely understand why you gave this small masterpiece of a game 5 stars.

      • That would suck, because Shift is an NFS game I'm actually looking forward to playing. I can't remember the last time I felt this excited about the franchise! I haven't played it yet but it seems to me that it might be returning a little bit to its roots, with track-based racing and some exotic cars, but most of all, no city-roaming Not like NFS Hot Pursuit 2, which is my favorite, but hopefully a step in the right direction! Don't ruin it for me! 😛

  3. I heard the title of this game thrown around a bit around it's launch, but didn't bother reading up on it whatsoever. I didn't even realize it was a motorcycle game, much less one I had played before in flash form and loved. Saw just the image on your review here and instant reaction was "holy shit must buy this now!". It's downloading right now, can't wait for it to finish. 🙂

    • It's amazing, and definitely hard to put down (I timed out on a match! 30 mins is the limit, that was with ~350 resets…). Wish the hard/extreme levels weren't so hard (or didn't have achievements attached to them), and all the achievements were realistically possible, but great nonetheless.