certainly wasn't the first game in the franchise, but it was the first to enthrall Xbox gamers. Like all Xbox Live Arcade titles, it had a demo. The first track had players bunny hopping through a disintegrating factory while avoiding boxes of explosives. The jumps became gradually bigger until for the final track, players barely let go of the throttle, jumping over barrels of fire and performing loop the loops while the track dramatically exploded behind them. It was a feeling unlike no other and led many people to spend dozens of hours on the full game. Trials Evolution
expanded on the formula, but then Trials Fusion
added another layer, the FMX Trick System, which drew mixed reactions from franchise fans. If you're one of the players for whom this was a step too far, don't fear. Developer RedLynx has gone back to the basic gameplay style for their upcoming Trials Rising
and there's not a single FMX trick to be seen.
There's no better example of the type of gameplay for which RedLynx is aiming when players start the beta with the Trials Yorkers Beginner track. Players sit at the top of a skyscraper with a very tall and very steep launch ramp heading down towards the floor. Get it wrong and it's certain death. You have two choices. You can either gingerly edge forward and drop down the ramp somewhat safely (this is Trials
after all), or you can own it and accelerate off the edge, pulling backflips or front flips as you hurtle towards the deceptively forgiving ramp at the bottom. Two loop the loops later and you're at street level where a series of large jumps await. You can see exactly what we mean below.
This weekend's beta took players across the world, beginning in the United States before heading across Europe and Asia. Players will travel through some real life locations, although there's a lot of liberty taken with their design to allow Trials
tracks to be added. One of those locations was the Eiffel Tower, although the tower's flights of steps aren't known for their suitability for a motorbike, and the lift is just a cheap way of getting to the top. As such, the I Fell Tower track (get it?) adds bounce pads, moving platforms and funhouse wheels, and I'm sure you'll agree the latter is a much more fun experience.
The colour of the medal players earn at the end of the track isn't the only thing at stake. As players make their way through the campaign, they'll earn sponsors who'll give them contracts to complete. The first sponsor had simple contracts, tasking players with completing an easy track with no faults or in a very generous time limit. The next sponsor made use of the limited tricks the game's physics system can allow, tasking players with performing a couple of frontflips while finishing with less than five faults. The third sponsor took it even further, requiring players to perform three backflips while beating another racer who had a four checkpoint headstart. Having to race repeatedly on the same tracks might not initially sound like too much fun, but each contract required players to increase their mastery of those tracks and you don't notice you're doing it. It's a sneaky way of getting players to improve their Trials
Contracts are included for tournaments and skill games too
Another way the game encourages players to improve is with the ghost system. Even throughout the campaign, you're never racing on your own — up to three ghosts will accompany you. The ghosts are based on real players whose track times are fairly similar to yours. As you head along the track, you can see the lines they took to knock off an extra couple of milliseconds and the tricks they used to get over a particularly challenging obstacle. Use those tactics next time and you could be heading towards those Platinum medals, or perhaps even the elusive Diamond medals.
The rock's in the background. Player 2 is not looking at imminent death
The campaign doesn't just include standard races. Eventually you'll unlock tournaments, or challenges that pit you directly against three ghosts of similar ability across three races on the same track. Mistakes have a much higher cost here and restarts are penalised. There are also the much-revered skill games. Bomb Bouncer made an appearance in the beta, setting players on fire before tasking them with using explosive barrels to fling themselves as far as possible down a hill. Of course, more skill games are promised for the full version of the game, although RedLynx is keeping their cards close for now. Away from the campaign, there were standard eight player online races to really test your mettle, and the hilarious tandem mode where two players try to control the same bike through the course. What could possibly go wrong?
On fire and flying like a ragdoll. This is deliberate.
For every completed contract or new medal earned, players will earn Fame and Trials Coins. Contracts also reward items for players to use in the game's extensive customisation area. Bike customisation wasn't available yet, but there's a huge suite of options available for rider customisation, including outfits, thousands of stickers, and poses. Players with more imagination than myself were already managing to create Spongebob t-shirts, full Ronald McDonald outfits, and Infinity Gauntlets. Fame is used to unlock more bikes, tracks and events, but every time a player levels up, they'll also be rewarded with a standard Gear loot crate. Each Gear Crate contains three cosmetic customisation items and it is possible to get duplicates, although these can be sold on for Trials Coins.
The basic Gear Crate. Different crates will be available in the full game.
Trials Coins can be used to purchase Gear Crates, or specific customisation items if there's something you desperately want. While not in the beta, they will also offer the chance to purchase "some post-launch content" in the full game, as well as entry into certain special events. There will be a third type of currency, Acorns, that also wasn't in the beta. These are earned through special contracts or online mutliplayer sessions, but they can also be bought using real money. There will be some items — "Legendary gear and premium gear crates" — that are only available to purchase with Acorns. More information on the game's progression and customization has been promised for the future before Trials Rising
gets back to basics on February 12th, 2019. Will you be joining in the fun?